Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President, will open an EU office in Benghazi on Sunday. The office will be initially located in the Tibesti Hotel in central Benghazi which is home to UN and international agencies, the EU’s Humanitarian Aid Agency ECHO and diplomats from national governments. The office will foster EU assistance in coordination with Member States and other international organisations.
“It is very important to be opening the EU Office in Benghazi which I announced to the European Parliament,” Catherine Ashton said. “It will be an honour to meet the people who have been fighting for democracy and a better future for Libya. I plan to meet key people from the Transitional National Council, civil society groups and our international partners. Opening an EU Office is an important signal of our support for the Libyan people. It is the EU putting words into action.” Following her announcement in the European Parliament, Catherine Ashton deployed an EEAS team under Agostino Miozzo, Managing Director for Crisis Response and Coordination, on Thursday to set up the office.
Catherine Ashton will officially open the EU Office at 1400 local time on Sunday at the Tibesti Hotel. A press conference will be held afterwards, at approximately 14.45. She will also make a statement after her meeting with the TNC at 1100 local time at the TNC Headquarters.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, issued the following statement today, after her meeting with the Chairman of the transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, in Benghazi:
“I have seen the vision of the Libyan people today all around. I saw the posters as I came from the airport with the words “We have a dream”. I am here today to explain and be clear about the depth and breadth of our support in the European Union for the people of Libya.
With Mr Jalil I discussed a number of key issues:
— Support for border management and security reform.
— Support for the economy, health and education.
— Support for civil society.
This support is not just for now, but long into the future. The people of Libya have spoken about the future they want. I am here on behalf of all the 27 countries of the European Union to offer our support to that future.”
Remarks by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton at the opening of the EU Office in Benghazi
“It is a great honour to formally open the European Union Office in Benghazi.
Today I already had a great privilege of meeting people who will be the leaders of this country into the future.
I can tell the people of Libya and anyone in the rest of the world who is watching that we are very fortunate – those involved in the Transitional National Council and those involved in the civil society have great aspirations for the people of this country and they have the leadership qualities and skills necessary to take the country forward.
For me it is an honour to be able to be here and to formally open this office.
It is the symbol of the European Union being here, but also of the EU being here to stay.
And the commitment that I bring is not just that we will be here in these coming weeks and months, but also in the years to come.
And as Libya creates its own democracy, as the Libyan people move forward, the European Union will be there to support that process and to support the people.”
Council of the European Union