EU remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton following the Foreign Affairs Council

Remarks by High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton fol­low­ing the For­eign Affairs Coun­cil, 21 March 2011

Top­ics: JAPAN, LIBYA AND SOUTHERN NEIGHBOURHOO, SAHEL STRATEGY, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, BELARUS, IRAN
“I’m going to spend a lit­tle bit of time tak­ing you through the Coun­cil dis­cus­sions today because I think it’s impor­tant and, of course, we’ll take ques­tions after­wards.

JAPAN

We began our meet­ing with an update on the sit­u­a­tion in Japan and reit­er­at­ed our sup­port and sym­pa­thy for the Japan­ese peo­ple.

We’ve received an offi­cial request from Japan to assist in bring­ing relief to the affect­ed pop­u­la­tion and we are cur­rent­ly prepar­ing its response in coor­di­na­tion with the Japan­ese author­i­ties.

LIBYA AND SOUTHERN NEIGHBOURHOOD

Today’s meet­ing showed the EU’s deter­mi­na­tion to react quick­ly and deci­sive­ly and with one voice to the events in Libya.

Every­thing we do has one objec­tive – and that is to help the peo­ple of Libya. We adopt­ed strong con­clu­sions express­ing our sat­is­fac­tion with the adop­tion of Res­o­lu­tion 1973, and stress­ing our deter­mi­na­tion to con­tribute to its imple­men­ta­tion.

And I quote: “While con­tribut­ing in a dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed way, the EU and its Mem­ber States are deter­mined to act col­lec­tive­ly and res­olute­ly, with all inter­na­tion­al part­ners, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Arab League … to give full effect to these deci­sions.” We call upon Gaddafi to relin­quish pow­er imme­di­ate­ly and to allow the Libyan peo­ple to realise their aspi­ra­tion for democ­ra­cy.

We have added 9 new enti­ties and 11 new indi­vid­u­als to the sanc­tions list. And we will fol­low up in the com­ing days with anoth­er deci­sion to imple­ment the sanc­tions in Res­o­lu­tion 1973.

We agreed that the EU is ready to pro­vide CSDP sup­port to human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance, under the coor­di­na­tion of the UN.

We will now con­tin­ue, and I quote: “fur­ther plan­ning on sup­port for human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance / civ­il pro­tec­tion oper­a­tions, includ­ing by mar­itime means”. And as part of this process, I will con­tin­ue with my close con­tacts with Ban Ki Moon, with Amr Mous­sa of the Arab League, with Jean Ping and the African Union and, of course, oth­er coun­tries in the region.

Our debate also focused on the wider neigh­bour­hood. We need to look longer-term, to sup­port peo­ple in all coun­tries in the region in the tran­si­tion to free­dom and democ­ra­cy.

The con­sti­tu­tion­al ref­er­en­dum in Egypt is a sig­nif­i­cant step in Egypt’s tran­si­tion to an open, demo­c­ra­t­ic and plu­ral­ist soci­ety.

It is now impor­tant that there is time for all polit­i­cal forces to organ­ise them­selves. Egypt’s future lies in the hands of the Egyp­tians, and only the Egypt­ian peo­ple can estab­lish and main­tain a sta­ble and demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­ety.

We stand ready to help. We are also extreme­ly con­cerned with the sit­u­a­tion in oth­er coun­tries too and I am fol­low­ing close­ly events in Yemen, Bahrain and Syr­ia.

We have adopt­ed strong con­clu­sions urg­ing the author­i­ties in Yemen and Bahrain to show restraint and engage in dia­logue with the oppo­si­tion with full respect for human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms. I look for­ward to dis­cussing the events in Bahrain with my envoy who has just returned this morn­ing. In par­al­lel to the unfold­ing polit­i­cal events on the ground, the Coun­cil called on us to con­tin­ue work on the EU’s pack­age of assis­tance to our South­ern Neigh­bour­hood. What I have call the ‘3 Ms’: Mon­ey and resources; Mar­ket access, trade; and Mobil­i­ty will be vital as the region con­tin­ues its jour­ney towards deep, sus­tained democ­ra­cy. We will now feed this work into the Euro­pean Coun­cil at the end of this week.

SAHEL STRATEGY

I pre­sent­ed to the Coun­cil the Euro­pean Strat­e­gy for Secu­ri­ty and Devel­op­ment in the Sahel. We dis­cussed the main com­po­nents of the Strat­e­gy and options for its imple­men­ta­tion. It was wel­comed. The inte­grat­ed action tak­en and the strate­gic lines of action pro­posed were seen as very pos­i­tive. And we will now start work­ing on the imple­men­ta­tion options. In doing so, we will con­sult with part­ners in the region.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

We, of course, too looked at the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Bosnia-Herze­gov­ina and the way for­ward and agreed to fur­ther strength­en our pres­ence there in order to sup­port the reform process. In return for results deliv­ered, we look to pro­vide a very clear EU per­spec­tive. As a mat­ter of pri­or­i­ty, we are look­ing for a broad-based gov­ern­ment, which can progress on all nec­es­sary reforms (par­tic­u­lar­ly bring­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion in line with the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion of Human Rights, adopt­ing a state aid law, and a cen­sus law). It is clear that progress will depend on the abil­i­ty of the politi­cians there to show lead­er­ship and their will­ing­ness to com­pro­mise.

To pro­vide fur­ther sup­port, we intend to have one sin­gle EU rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the ground. We want to have avail­able a broad, bal­anced tool­box so we can sup­port reforms, includ­ing finan­cial sup­port, and we can mon­i­tor and report around polit­i­cal facil­i­ta­tion. In addi­tion EUFOR ALTHEA, which we have there, will remain part of our approach. We will dis­cuss this fur­ther with key local and inter­na­tion­al part­ners in the com­ing weeks.

BELARUS

We are also, of course, con­cerned about the sit­u­a­tion in Belarus. We con­demn the con­tin­ued deten­tion, tri­als and sen­tenc­ing on polit­i­cal grounds of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of NGOs and oppo­si­tion lead­ers. They must be released imme­di­ate­ly. Today we have extend­ed the visa ban and assets freeze list to a fur­ther 19 indi­vid­u­als, in par­tic­u­lar judges, pros­e­cu­tors and uni­ver­si­ty rec­tors who are direct­ly involved in the lat­est tri­als and harass­ment of stu­dents. Depend­ing on devel­op­ments in Belarus, we stand ready to con­sid­er fur­ther tar­get­ed mea­sures in all areas of coop­er­a­tion.

IRAN

And final­ly, we are wor­ried that the human rights sit­u­a­tion in Iran con­tin­ues to dete­ri­o­rate. We have seen a dra­mat­ic increase in exe­cu­tions; the sys­tem­at­ic repres­sion of Iran­ian cit­i­zens, includ­ing human rights defend­ers, lawyers, jour­nal­ists, women’s activists, blog­gers and the oppo­si­tion.

Hun­dreds of Ira­ni­ans are sub­ject to harass­ment and arrest for exer­cis­ing their legit­i­mate right to free­dom of speech and peace­ful assem­bly. We will there­fore con­tin­ue to sup­port indi­vid­u­als and civ­il soci­ety orga­ni­za­tions which stand up for the rights that all Ira­ni­ans should enjoy.

We are also ready to keep chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open with the Iran­ian author­i­ties. We want to dis­cuss our human rights con­cerns frankly and open­ly. We do want to make our views clear. The EU will con­tin­ue to stand up against human rights abus­es in Iran, in all pos­si­ble ways. And that includes the intro­duc­tion of restric­tive mea­sures tar­get­ed against those respon­si­ble for grave human rights vio­la­tions.” Thank you.

Source:
Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →