Speech by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on North Africa and the Arab world

Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, Stras­bourg, 6 July 2011
Mr Pres­i­dent, Hon­ourable Mem­bers, the last time I spoke in this Par­lia­ment, in ear­ly May, I said that state­ments could and should be made – but that the pri­or­i­ty is action.

You will remem­ber that I announced my inten­tion to estab­lish an EU office in Benghazi.

The EU flag now flies above the cour­t­house in the new­ly-named Free­dom Square – a sym­bol not just of our sol­i­dar­i­ty with its peo­ple, but of our prac­ti­cal commitment.

The office is now up and run­ning, experts are arriv­ing each week – work­ing at how to sup­port the secu­ri­ty needs ofd the peo­ple, and help build the capac­i­ty of civ­il society.

And last week my team was in New York, coor­di­nat­ing our work on Libya with the UN.

Out­side the cour­t­house in Free­dom Square, I met some of the peo­ple who have been bring­ing democ­ra­cy to life in Libya.

They thanked me; they thanked you; they thanked the Euro­pean Union.

They know that we will stay with them over time, and today I am sure you join me in salut­ing again the enor­mous courage of the Libyan peo­ple – whether in Beng­hazi, Mis­ra­ta, the West­ern Moun­tains, Tripoli or the South.

We have stepped up sanc­tions, to stop arms and mon­ey reach­ing the regime.

We have pro­vid­ed €140 mil­lion of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to those most in need. 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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