The European Parliament debate Re Maspero 27 October 2011

ep resolution, maspero massacre 

Situation in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Egypt (debate)


President. − The next item is the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the situation in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Egypt.


Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, thank you very much for the opportunity to come again to the Parliament. It was only two weeks ago in Strasbourg that we discussed the situation in our Southern Neighbourhood and we felt that sense of impatience and uncertainty, that real change does takes time and we know it will be measured in years and not in seasons. But we also recognised the importance of our continuing support and tonight we will focus on Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain where the latest events remind us of what we were saying two weeks ago.

Let me begin with Egypt and start by being absolutely clear that what we saw in Egypt on Sunday night was totally unacceptable. We were all shocked and appalled by the violence against a peaceful demonstration by the Coptic Christian community that led to the death of 25 people, with more than 300 injured.

These clashes run contrary to the whole spirit and goals of the revolution and the aspirations of all Egyptians – of all backgrounds and beliefs. They stood side by side asking for legitimate human rights after 30 years of authoritarian rule. The Egyptian uprising belongs to the whole population of Egypt. Protection of human rights is essential. I believe that is the only way to ensure that we are going to have true democracy. I made a statement calling for calm and restraint and an investigation so that those responsible for the violence can be brought to justice.

I urged and I urged the authorities to protect the right to demonstrate peacefully, and the right to freedom of religion or belief – one of the most fundamental of all human rights. Yet the worst thing now would be for these tragic events to stand in the way of democracy. On the contrary we have to learn these lessons fast. Sunday’s events should encourage the government and the ruling military council to investigate, to listen, to review the emergency law and to step up the dialogue with political representatives ahead of elections.

Our Delegation met today with representatives from the Al-Azhar University and Mosque who can play a very important role in the dialogue between different communities. As we have said before in this House, Egypt faces its first opportunity to hold free and fair elections and we will work to help the judges and poll workers in the management of the upcoming parliamentary elections later this year.

We will continue to work both on the process towards democracy and in the relaunch of the economy.

Turning to the example of the Task Force in Tunisia last week, here we were able to bring together the international community – European institutions, Members of this House, Member States, the European Investment Bank, the Bank for Reconstruction and Development, multilateral financial institutions and, crucially, private sector companies – making sure that together we become a catalyst for quicker and more effective assistance; in Tunisia in this case, but important of course across the region.

We were able to pull together a package of EUR 4 billion over three years for Tunisia. We plan to do the same in other countries in the region where that collaborative approach can make a significant difference to the economic opportunities in those countries: Jordan, Egypt, and other countries too.

I hope too that we will be able to do something for Syria in the near future, where the situation remains totally unacceptable and where we must continue pressure on the regime – bilaterally and internationally. You have noted our sanctions and their gradual expansion to include oil exports – even now additional sanctions are under preparation.

You will have also seen our efforts in the UN Security Council and in the Human Rights Council. Member States worked hard in the Security Council to try to get a resolution but were unable to achieve that. I believe we have to redouble our efforts and I will be raising our concerns with our strategic partners, the United States and China, over these coming next few days.

There is no sign, of course, in Syria of the regime abandoning violence and repression and the risk of spiralling violence and sectarian rifts is very real. The recent incidents of targeted killings confirm this danger. That is why the unity of the people and the new political leaders on the ground is essential. We welcome all efforts by the Syrian opposition to come together. The creation of the Syrian National Council is encouraging. Inclusiveness, commitment to non-violence, human rights and democratic values are essential in that process. I believe this Parliament is unique in what it can offer to promote those values and is well placed to offer a forum for dialogue.

We should also seek to associate Arab countries in all of our efforts. We will remain steadfast and determined to support the people of Syria. Our sanctions are not directed against them but against the regime and those who support it, and we continue to send a message to the people of Syria that we wish to help them achieve their aspirations and will mobilise our assistance and improve our trade and economic links as soon as we see that genuine transition begin.

In Yemen we wait and watch President Saleh who has talked again about transferring power, but I am not convinced that he is listening to his people. Surely this time he must match his words with deeds and transfer that power now. The time for empty promises is gone. The President and his family must stop holding the country’s future to ransom. Not least when we look at the tragedy of the humanitarian situation: there is a great lack of fuel, power, food and water, and people face chronic malnutrition.

Even before the current crisis, 7.5 million people – one third of all Yemenis – did not have enough to eat. 400 000 Yemeni people are internally displaced, and the country hosts over 200 000 refugees from the Horn of Africa. How exactly that transition goes forward is for the Yemeni parties themselves to work out. But they have long ago accepted the principles of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s initiative. We have engaged at all levels, trying to facilitate peaceful solutions among the key players in Yemen. I have been working closely with the GCC and with the United States to keep a strong and united front, sequencing and coordinating our messages and actions on the ground and in our capitals.

We have also played a key role through the UN Human Rights Council, and will now step that up through our Member States in the UN Security Council.

Last week a 32-year-old Yemeni woman, Tawakul Karman, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Her first meeting with the international community was hosted by our Head of Delegation on Sunday. He transmitted first hand my message that the prize recognises her relentless commitment to human rights, and particularly to the rights of women. Women are at the forefront of the fight against repressive regimes and they must remain central to the shaping of the reforms that follow.

Fourth, and finally, to Bahrain where we have been following the situation very closely and we have made clear our views in statements and in direct talks with the Foreign Minister and with the King. This morning the Bahraini Ambassador was called again to my services. We have adopted conclusions in the Foreign Affairs Council several times and we will not do other than continue to put the situation in the forefront of our work and of our statements.

Like many amongst the honourable Members here I have spoken out against the death penalty – actually all of my life – and the harsh sentences handed down in cases connected to the recent unrest. Special courts should not be used to try civilians and I have urged the Bahraini authorities to stick to the commitments they have made and guarantee fair trials.

For that reason, I take some positive note of last week’s decision to retry in civil courts the trials against doctors and nurses accused of tending to the medical needs of those who oppose the regime. That request, from us, was heard, but now surely civilian courts should move to drop all charges.

The decision should be extended to all civilians tried in the Security Courts. About 60 more civilians, aside from those medical personnel, have been sentenced in these courts.

At the end of this month, the International Commission investigating the human rights violations will deliver its report. All the documented allegations must be followed up properly – whoever the presumed perpetrator is.

Our members have also led the way in Geneva to try to secure follow-up to this Independent Commission’s findings in the Human Rights Council, and to allow the High Commissioner’s Office to visit. On both fronts, I have to say, the Bahraini authorities have chosen to remain evasive.

The investigations should change the political climate and should encourage reconciliation. There needs to be far more and better dialogue between the authorities and the opposition. The authorities should, in my view, inject confidence into this process so that those groups with a legitimate grievance can come to the table.

I have to say though, that without dialogue, without real dialogue and real reforms, there can be no long-term, sustainable solutions to the challenges that are faced in Bahrain.



Hans-Gert Pöttering, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Frau Vizepräsdentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Vor wenigen Monaten haben wir mit großer Hoffnung, mit Bewunderung nach Ägypten geschaut, und ich selbst habe Anfang März mit vielen jungen Menschen auf dem Tahrir-Platz sprechen können. Es war ein Aufbruch zur Freiheit, zur Verteidigung der Würde des Menschen, der Menschenrechte und der Demokratie, und heute schauen wir doch mit Sorge nach Ägypten.

Wenn wir zur Kenntnis nehmen müssen, wie Lady Ashton es gerade gesagt hat, dass viele Kopten und Christen umgekommen sind, möglicherweise sogar ermordet wurden, dann muss uns das mit großer Sorge erfüllen. Wir müssen den Ländern der Arabischen Revolution, der Rebellion zurufen: Schützt eure Minderheiten, denn wenn die Minderheiten nicht geschützt werden, dann richtet es sich am Ende gegen eure eigene Freiheit.

Deswegen müssen wir vom Feldmarschall Tantawi und von seiner Regierung fordern, dass die Vorkommnisse untersucht werden, und dass auch diejenigen vor Gericht gebracht und verurteilt werden – und wenn es sich um Soldaten handelt –, die einfach mit ihren Fahrzeugen über die Menschen gefahren sind. Alle, die Gewalt geübt haben, müssen dafür bestraft werden.

Weil sich in einigen arabischen Staaten mehr die Gewalt zeigt, sollten wir jetzt jedoch nicht den Fehler machen, die vielen Millionen zu vergessen, die für Freiheit, für Demokratie, für den Frieden und auch für den Dialog der Kulturen eintreten. Bei den Demonstrationen am Sonntag mit den über 100 000 Kopten waren auch Moslems dabei. Sie haben friedlich mit den Christen demonstriert. Lassen Sie uns also auch diesen Friedenswillen von Millionen friedlicher Moslems nicht vergessen.

Im Jahr 2008 war der Großmufti von Syrien, Ahmad Hassoun, hier im Europäischen Parlament. Er hat eine bemerkenswerte Rede gehalten. Sicher ist er auch ein Mann, der in der Nähe dieses verbrecherischen Systems von Präsident Assad, der zurücktreten sollte, anzusiedeln ist. Aber jetzt ist auch de jüngste Sohn dieses Großmuftis, der sicher unschuldig ist, brutal ermordet worden, möglicherweise von Fundamentalisten. Also auch die Moslems zahlen ihren Preis. Deswegen müssen wir dafür eintreten, dass die Toleranz für alle gilt, und wir sollten die Demokratiebewegung in den arabischen Ländern mit aller Kraft weiter unterstützen.


Кристиан Вигенин, от името на групата S&D. – Господин Председател, уважаема госпожо Ashton, с голямо безпокойство наблюдаваме събитията в страните от южното Средиземноморие. Тази тема присъства в почти всяко заседание на Европейския парламент. Обсъждаме, предлагаме решения, искаме действия от Комисията, от Съвета, от Вас персонално. Оценяваме високо бързите ви реакции и ясните позиции, които изразявате. Но трябва да признаем, че нещата някак не се променят към по-добро, дори напротив.

Ситуацията в Сирия постепенно започва да излиза от контрол. Противопоставянето става все по-брутално. Режимът в Дамаск явно няма намерение да спре насилието и да започне бързи политически реформи. Напротив, дори заплашва с мащабен регионален конфликт, в който иска да въвлече Израел и Иран. Подобно поведение вече говори за слабост и изнервеност, които не вещаят нищо добро нито за сирийския народ, нито за региона като цяло.

В Египет текат процеси, които пораждат смесени чувства. От една страна Египет върви към своите първи демократични избори, в същото време международни наблюдатели не бяха поканени и независимо какво е формалното обяснение, това не е добър знак. Засилват се тенденции, които могат да препънат демократичния поход от площад Тахрир. Напрежението между религиозните групи не е ново явление, но вместо да бъде гарантирана религиозната свобода, конфликтите растат. Участието на силите на реда в касапницата в неделя (по друг начин не можем да го наречем) е много обезпокоително.

Аз Ви призовавам, госпожо Ashton, да настоявате за пълно разследване на събитията, както заявихте, наказание и съд на виновните и нови гаранции от страна на властите в Египет, че ще бъдат гарантирани правата на малцинствата, включително на религиозните малцинства.

Струва ми се, че трябва да потърсим по-ясна подкрепа и ангажимент от нашите стратегически партньори с претенции за глобална роля като Русия и Китай, а така също и от страни – кандидатки за членство в Европейския съюз, имам предвид Турция, която би следвало да се включи по-активно в общите действия на Европейския съюз и неговите страни-членки.

Няма да задавам въпроси, но бих искал да използвате Вашето присъствие тук, за да ни подскажете има ли други стъпки, които Европейският парламент може да предприеме в подкрепа на Вашите усилия.


Kristiina Ojuland, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, it is a pity to see that the Arab Spring for democracy – now in autumn – is falling back into violence.

The ALDE Group condemns the clashes between different religious groups in Egypt; furthermore it condemns the excessive use of force by the military. Freedom of religion must be protected, as well as the right to demonstrate peacefully while upholding law and order without infringing human rights. We call on the Egyptian authorities to maintain this delicate balance to prevent the nation finding itself going out of the frying pan into the fire.

The blocking of the Syrian pro-democracy resolution in the United Nations Security Council by Russia and China is an utter disgrace. The disappointment of the EU expressed in the Council conclusions must be reinforced by increasing pressure on international actors to take a strong stance against the killing, mass arrests and torture of civilians in Syria.

In Yemen and Bahrain the regimes must put an end to violence, human rights violations and the suppression of the opposition, and give way to a peaceful regime transition. The revolutionary wave that calls for democracy in the Arab world should not be left to wither.


Barbara Lochbihler, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, sehr geehrte Hohe Vertreterin Ashton, verehrte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Der Unterausschuss Menschenrechte hat in der vergangenen Woche eine Anhörung zur Lage der Menschenrechte in Bahrain, in Syrien und in Jemen organisiert. Wir debattierten unterschiedlichste Forderungen, die in allen Ländern unterschiedlich sind. Aber ich habe auch von Ihren Ausführungen jetzt gehört, dass Sie sich im Detail damit beschäftigen, und es waren im Wesentlichen die gleichen Dinge, die auch wir gehört haben.

Ich möchte deshalb hier nur hervorheben, dass es wirklich notwendig ist, dass die EU insbesondere die Anstrengungen der Zivilgesellschaft unterstützt, und zwar derjenigen, die sich für einen gewaltfreien Wandel einsetzen.

Sie haben erwähnt, dass Sie in Bahrain den Dialog mit der Zivilgesellschaft fördern. Auch das haben wir gehört, aber ebenso die Einschätzung, dass Vertreter der Zivilgesellschaft an eine Reform glauben, aber eben keine Bereitschaft sehen, dass es zu einem ernsthaften Dialog kommt.

Innerhalb der Zivilgesellschaft wiederum ist es wichtig, dass sich die EU für die Frauen und deren Organisationen einsetzt. Dass es sie gibt, dass sie aktiv sind, das zeigt ja auch die Verleihung des Friedensnobelpreises in diesem Jahr an die Jemenitin Tawakkul Karman. Bereits 2006 gründete sie den Verein „Journalistinnen ohne Ketten“ und mobilisiert seit Anfang dieses Jahres zivilgesellschaftliche Proteste im Jemen. Ich bin froh – wie Sie erwähnt haben, Lady Ashton –, dass bereits die EU-Delegation im Jemen Kontakt zu ihr aufgenommen hat. Mit der Preisverleihung wird nicht nur eine Frau gewürdigt, die sich als Muslimin in einer extrem von Männern dominierten Gesellschaft für geschlechtliche Gleichberechtigung stark macht. Das Nobelpreis-Komitee setzt zugleich ein wichtiges Zeichen, nämlich dass in den arabischen Revolten der Kampf um Frauenrechte und Emanzipation eine zentrale Rolle spielen muss. Jede Regierung, die im Zuge der gesellschaftlichen Umwälzungen an die Macht kommt, muss sich dafür einsetzen. Ich hoffe, die EU fördert das, so gut sie kann.


Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, earlier this year the Egyptian army played a crucial role in forcing the resignation of President Mubarak, after refusing orders to shoot protestors – thus making Egypt’s move towards democracy far less bloody than the transition in Libya, where the pro-Gaddafi forces have proved resilient, requiring NATO intervention to tip the balance. We all hope in this House that Sirte falls soon to the Transitional National Council.

However, the most recent reports coming from Egypt of the deaths of dozens of Coptic Christians who were protesting peacefully and killed as a result of a brutal overreaction by the security forces, are shocking and need investigation.

There is concern both in Tunisia and in Egypt over the rise of hardline Salafist influences now, and therefore in my view the more moderate Islamist elements of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt need engaging with and need to be made to understand that they must pledge to respect international obligations made by Egypt on human rights if they are elected to power.

The brutal repression of the Syrian uprising by contrast has led tragically to 3 000 deaths so far, with President Assad sadly refusing to go and appealing to minorities such as his own set, the Alawites, and the Christians to resist the Sunni-led insurgency. The EU must now support the freezing of Syrian assets in Europe, ban oil imports and lean more on Russia and China in the Security Council for support with the hope of speeding up the Syrian National Council’s bid to topple the Ba’athist regime.

Yemen’s traditional alliance with the US against al-Qa’ida is laudable but the regime is authoritarian. Street protestors have called for UN aid in forcing Ali Abdullah Saleh from power now, but the ECR welcomes the fact that the cases of medics jailed in Bahrain for instance for treating injured protestors are now due to be reviewed, which will give some credibility to the Bahraini Monarchy’s quest for democracy.

The ECR calls on the EU to mobilise all available means to the Middle East and North African countries, including direct aid and loan finance for investment, but conditional on respect for human rights and democracy.

Lastly our political parties here in this House must share their experience in order to establish secular, democratic choices for the people of that region.


Marisa Matias, em nome do Grupo GUE/NGL. – Senhor Presidente, Senhora Alta Representante, há alturas em que penso que precisamos de parar um pouco e fazer balanços e esta parece-me ser uma das alturas. E parece-me ser porque vamos sempre na cadência dos acontecimentos e de uma resposta de acontecimento em acontecimento e perdemos um bocado aquilo que é a perspectiva do todo.

É certo que cada caso é um caso, e que cada país de que estamos aqui a falar é um caso específico, mas perdoe-me dizer, Senhora Alta Representante, parece-me que é difícil escrutinar quais são os critérios que a União Europeia tem usado para agir em função de cada um dos casos. Temo que estejamos muitas vezes reféns daquilo que são os interesses dos países da União Europeia, de parte de alguns desses países da União Europeia e não de todos. E é por isso que nós usamos tantas vezes nesta casa a expressão dois pesos e duas medidas e continuamos a usá-la. Às vezes é sanções sim, outras vezes é sanções não, às vezes a ingerência vai até ao limite da bomba como o foi no caso da Líbia, outras vezes é o silêncio total como foi no caso da invasão do Bahrein pelas forças da Arábia Saudita e, Senhora Baronesa, deixe-me dizer-lhe que tenho estudado atentamente todos os dossiês, não vi ainda uma única declaração das instituições europeias a condenar a invasão do Bahrein pelas forças militares da Arábia Saudita.

São condenações à morte, é violência sem fim, são médicos e enfermeiros que são condenados até 30 anos de prisão por um tribunal militar porque supostamente estavam a ser contra o regime e não a ajudar os feridos que deles necessitavam. Em relação à monarquia ditatorial do Bahrein e em relação ao regime ditatorial do Iémen, do regime de Saleh, temos tido muito mais silêncios que acções. Eu não sou a favor da ingerência - nunca o fui - mas temo que nos coloquemos numa posição desconfortável, a posição vista de fora, Senhora Baronesa, que é em vez de ajudarmos ao desenvolvimento, às aspirações democráticas e revolucionárias dos povos nos países árabes, em vez de ajudarmos à Primavera árabe, o que fazemos é impedir que ela se estenda, quer por excesso quer por defeito, e não acho que devamos ficar com esse pecado.

Espero que a atribuição do Prémio Nobel a uma activista iemenita possa servir de sinal de que o nosso lado é o lado dos povos que estão em revolução.


Fiorello Provera, a nome del gruppo EFD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il massacro avvenuto in Egitto per impedire una manifestazione di protesta per l'incendio di una chiesa copta da parte di musulmani salafiti dimostra quanto sia ancora lontana la democrazia.

Al di là delle difficoltà che incontrano i copti quando richiedono l'autorizzazione per costruire una chiesa, in base a una legge che risale all'impero ottomano, sono sempre più numerosi gli attacchi ai cristiani da parte di estremisti musulmani. Le proteste, anziché essere garantite dalle autorità militari che governano l'Egitto, sono represse nel sangue. Paradossalmente, questi conflitti religiosi e queste repressioni erano meno frequenti al tempo di Mubarak.

Ma vi sono altri segnali preoccupanti che deludono le aspettative sulla cosiddetta Primavera araba. Mi riferisco all'attacco all'ambasciata israeliana con il conseguente ritiro dell'ambasciatore, agli attentati contro i gasdotti nel Sinai, alle richieste di alcuni partiti politici di revisione del trattato di pace tra Egitto e Israele e, infine, alla forte avanzata dei partiti islamisti.

Dal momento che l'Unione europea ha giustamente rafforzato il suo sostegno politico e finanziario all'Egitto, non sarebbe il caso di applicare la dottrina Füle-Ashton del "more for more", e quindi anche del "less for less", indirizzando gli aiuti alle forze politiche, sociali e sindacali che promuovono democrazia e stabilità in Egitto?


Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE). - Señor Presidente, la libertad religiosa está reconocida en la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos y también en el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos –Egipto es Parte en el Pacto desde 1982. Conocemos, además, la relevancia de la libertad de manifestación y de expresión.

La gravedad de lo ocurrido el domingo en El Cairo reside en que se ha reprimido con una fuerza desproporcionada a unos manifestantes que forman parte de una minoría que reclamaba la protección de su libertad de religión. Es necesaria una investigación rigurosa de lo ocurrido y castigar a los culpables, como muy bien ha dicho el señor Pöttering.

La libertad de religión debe ser protegida y hecha respetar por los Estados, como reclamaba este Parlamento en su Resolución del pasado 20 de enero, señora Ashton. Queremos un Egipto de libertad, justicia y paz, un Egipto alejado de hechos como los ocurridos.

Además, Egipto es un gran país, líder en el mundo árabe: lo que ocurre allí tiene una repercusión enorme. Los acontecimientos del domingo no pueden repetirse. Egipto debe ser un ejemplo de tolerancia y concordia, no de violencia y de violación de libertades.

La Unión debe prestar la máxima atención al respeto de las libertades en los procesos de cambio en el mundo árabe que queremos favorecer y acompañar. En los últimos meses, dirigentes religiosos cristianos y también representantes de la sociedad civil de algunos de estos países me transmitieron su preocupación por la situación de la libertad religiosa en sus países.

Señora Ashton, a mí me gustaría que nos informara sobre qué medidas va a proponer para reforzar la acción de la Unión Europea en este campo, como ya le pidió a usted el Consejo de Asuntos Exteriores el pasado mes de febrero.


Richard Howitt (S&D). - Mr President, we return tonight, without apology, to the countries of the Arab world where transition has not yet started but where the demand for it is urgent and, sadly, deadly. As a European Union we must heed the failure of the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council to agree the decisive action needed to provide real protection and support for the region’s democracy protestors.

Concerning Yemen, where the situation is deteriorating, full military force is now being used against peaceful protestors, yet the resolution passed in the UN fails to form any conclusion about responsibility for rights violations or to back the High Commissioner’s request to establish a presence in that country. We must heed, too, the new evidence from the World Food Programme of the starvation and hunger affecting that country.

Concerning Syria, we should note the formation of the new opposition Syrian National Council and that the High Commissioner again called for referrals to the International Criminal Court, which were not backed in the UN. Interestingly, Egypt, as well as Russia and China, sought to obstruct the commission of inquiry that was set up.

Concerning Egypt, I join with others in this debate to condemn the violence, with witness statements showing that security forces opened fire on protestors and ran them over in armoured cars. I myself have told the Egyptian Ambassador that I was present in Cairo for the constitutional referendum and welcomed the warmth and affection shown by people experiencing their first taste of genuine democracy, so I just do not accept that public opposition is a barrier to the EU mounting an electoral mission which could help entrench that democracy for the future.

Finally, I would hope that Vice-President/High Representative Ashton will also comment, in her winding-up, on the report from Amnesty International which states that peaceful protestors outside Syrian embassies in our own countries – France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK – have been threatened, intimidated and physically attacked by individuals believed to be connected to the Syrian regime. In the UN we can do better to protect civilians in the Arab World. Here in the European Union itself we have no excuse not to do so.


Marietje Schaake (ALDE). - Mr President, while the euro crisis occupies political agendas and headlines, we are facing another crisis, which is that of the EU as a global player. High Representative, I believe that this week’s statements on Bahrain, Syria and the violence in Egypt were very good, but what actions will now back up those words? The EU can seek stronger overlap between values and interests, but not if it continues to navel-gaze or fragment.

We should leverage the impact of our single market to make it work for stability, growth and the defence of human rights. Obama has announced oil sanctions for Syria. While the EU is Syria’s main trading partner, it was unable to unite or to lead in this issue. Looking inward also hurts our relationship with Turkey, while we need to cooperate and engage on North Africa and the Middle East in a more intensive way.

We are largely failing our neighbours and the next generation, and with that our own interests. The Arab Spring is turning into a winter and we must stand more closely with those people and their future. In Egypt, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is behaving no differently than the Mubarak regime was. Citizens are tried in military courts for blogging – like Maikel Nabil – or for speaking out – like Asmaa Mahfouz. What concrete actions will the EU take to invest in a truly new Egypt?

In Syria, an illegitimate government continues to kill people, and there are now threats to Europe concerning that might happen to us if we recognise the Opposition Council. Those threats were made, Mr Pöttering, by the Grand Mufti, and Syrians in the EU are also facing threats. It is up to the Syrian people to determine their own future, but we must protect their human rights and we are not doing enough. More pressure, and giving a clear choice to the economic elites that doing business with al-Assad means no business with Europe would be a good start. Let me specifically highlight the need to ban the export of surveillance, security and censoring technologies to countries that use them to violate human rights. In Bahrain, the prosecution of doctors in military courts for treating people indiscriminately shows disregard for human life. The world unitedly condemns that in the strongest terms. I also wanted to highlight the case of two bloggers that are imprisoned in Bahrain – Abduljalil al-Singace and Ali Abdulemam. Please highlight their cases too.


Rui Tavares (Verts/ALE). - Senhor Presidente, o maior desafio da política externa europeia não é a China nem os Estados Unidos, mas é o que está a acontecer do outro lado do Mediterrâneo, nos nossos vizinhos países árabes. Não porque nós combatamos as tiranias naqueles países, isso quem faz é o povo dos próprios países, mas porque nós temos um inimigo mais forte a combater, o nosso próprio passado, as nossas cumplicidades, as nossas colaborações com regimes autoritários.

Na Síria, onde até há pouco tempo trabalhámos numa espécie de abertura com o regime, que é um regime policial, e onde não fizemos o suficiente para ajudar os refugiados que estão na Síria e não estamos a fazer o suficiente agora para pressionar a Turquia para reconhecer os refugiados que vêm da Síria para a Turquia, no Egipto onde estamos outra vez a cair no mesmo truque de por causa de haver possível violência sectária cairmos nos braços dos militares. É importante investigar bem o que se passou porque pode haver dedo do regime militar na violência sectária no Egipto e do outro lado da Península Arábica, no Bahrein e no Iémen porque, Senhora Ashton, francamente, é preciso muito mais do que chamar o embaixador do Bahrein. O embaixador do Bahrein teve o descaramento de, nesta casa, nos dizer que os médicos que estão presos não estavam presos por tratar manifestantes, mas por estarem no hospital para lá do horário de expediente. É preciso falar com a Arábia Saudita e aí a coisa é muito mais difícil.

Finalmente, para terminar, é preciso dizer uma coisa: foi a Primavera Árabe que libertou o soldado Shalit, que a Sra. Ashton saudou, e deveria ter saudado também a libertação de Barghouti e de mais de mil palestinianos e a Primavera árabe que está a fazer mudar aquela parte do mundo é o nosso maior desafio neste momento.


Konrad Szymański (ECR). - Panie Przewodniczący! To wielki paradoks, że od czasu arabskiej wiosny sytuacja chrześcijan w Egipcie ulega pogorszeniu niemalże z każdym miesiącem. Atakowane są zgromadzenia wiernych, ponad 100 chrześcijańskich kobiet zostało porwanych, są one nierzadko gwałcone, zmuszane do przyjęcia islamu. Unia Europejska musi w tej sprawie działać szybko i jednoznacznie. Nasze ekonomiczne i polityczne wsparcie powinno być adresowane wyraźnie tylko do sił demokratycznych. Musimy sprzeciwić się odniesieniom do szariatu w egipskiej konstytucji. Wybory w tym kraju powinny odbyć się po zmianie konstytucji i trwać jeden dzień w skali całego kraju, tak aby uniknąć fałszerstw i zastraszania. Nasze milczenie w tych sprawach będzie oznaczało cichą zgodę na antychrześcijańskie czystki religijne i na pogrążanie się Egiptu w radykalizmie i destabilizacji.


Bastiaan Belder (EFD). - Sta mij een korte opmerking vooraf toe. Mevrouw de hoge vertegenwoordiger, ik sluit mij als voorzitter van de Israël-delegatie van harte aan bij uw gelukwens aan het adres van de ouders van Gilad Shalit, nu hij binnenkort na vijf jaar van gevangenschap en totaalisolatie vrijkomt. Daarom is dit een heuglijke dag.

Mijnheer de Voorzitter, op aangrijpende wijze heeft het Egyptische dagblad Al Masri Al Jung nauwkeurig verslag gedaan van het bloedbad dat het Egyptische leger zondagavond in Caïro volkomen onverwachts aanrichtte onder vreedzaam demonstrerende christenen. Telefonisch contact leerde mij gisteravond hoe diep de Kopten en christenen van andere kerken geschokt zijn. Een schrijnend gebrek aan bescherming van overheidswege tegen agressie van militante islamisten is in het Egypte van na Mubarak al meer een ontluisterend gegeven.

Maar het toekomstperspectief van Egyptische christenen kan nog donkerder worden. Dat leren de onheilspellende gebeurtenissen van begin deze week.

Mevrouw de hoge vertegenwoordiger, naar ik hoop stelt u alles in het werk om ervoor te zorgen dat er een werkelijk onafhankelijk en diepgaand openbaar onderzoek plaatsvindt naar de vreesaanjagende, dodelijke escalatie van geweld van zondagavond. Tegelijkertijd verwacht ik van de Europese Unie een krachtige, duidelijke stellingname tegen de dagelijkse veelvuldige maatschappelijke discriminatie van de christelijke minderheid in Egypte. De spreekwoordelijke Arabische lente moet immers voor haar, voor die minderheid, nog altijd aanbreken.


Andrzej Grzyb (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący. Wysoka Przedstawiciel, byliśmy zaskoczeni gwałtownością zmian, które nastąpiły w Afryce Północnej, a w tej chwili jesteśmy z kolei zaskoczeni, że tam, gdzie staraliśmy się wesprzeć te ruchy, pojawiają się zjawiska przemocy. Tak jak ostatnio wobec egipskich Koptów. Ta społeczność różnymi kanałami próbuje do nas dotrzeć i mówić o tym, co się tam dzieje. Dostałem od tej społeczności np. zdjęcia – jest tu tylko 30 młodych dziewczyn, które zginęły i nie wiadomo, gdzie są. Społeczności te twierdzą, że zostały one porwane. Takich przypadków jest podobno więcej. Ale mamy też do czynienia z tą ostatnią masakrą, która potwierdza, że tamtejsza sytuacja pogarsza się wobec tych mniejszości. A z drugiej strony jesteśmy tuż przed wyborami, które mają się tam odbyć i jesteśmy też przekonani, że odbędzie się również przygotowanie nowej konstytucji.

Więc jest to moment, w którym my Parlamentarzyści powinniśmy, jako społeczność międzynarodowa, jako Parlament reagować, aby te zmiany, które tam następują, uwzględniały nasze oczekiwania wobec nowych demokracji. Jeżeli mamy je wspierać, to powinniśmy je wspierać w taki sposób, aby standardy dotyczące mniejszości, które są rodzimymi mniejszościami, również były przestrzegane. To dotyczy wszystkich tych krajów, które dzisiaj były przedmiotem omówienia Pani Wysokiej Przedstawiciel.

Zgadzam się z tą opinią, że tragiczne wydarzenia nie powinny zahamować demokracji w Egipcie czy w innych krajach w tym regionie. Jednak jeżeli nie będziemy na to reagować jako społeczność międzynarodowa, to będzie bardzo trudno uzyskać tam standardy, których oczekujemy. Dziękuję.


Μαρία-Ελένη Κοππά (S&D). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η αραβική άνοιξη, παρά το ελπιδοφόρο μήνυμά της, μετράει χιλιάδες νεκρούς. Στην Υεμένη, παρά την ανακοίνωση παραίτησης του Προέδρου Σάλεχ, οι ταραχές συνεχίζονται. Καθημερινά έχουμε βίαιες συγκρούσεις, μάλιστα πρόσφατα με θύματα γυναίκες που διαδήλωναν προς τιμήν της βραβευθείσας με το Νόμπελ Ειρήνης, Ταουακούλ Καρμάν.

Την ίδια στιγμή, στο Μπαχρέιν στρατιωτικά δικαστήρια διώκουν ακόμη και γιατρούς και νοσοκόμους, που έκαναν το καθήκον τους κατά τη διάρκεια των ταραχών. Το Κοινοβούλιο λειτουργεί χωρίς εκπροσώπηση της αντιπολίτευσης, ενώ οι μεταρρυθμίσεις που προωθεί η κυβέρνηση στοχεύει μόνο στο να μειωθεί η πολιτική ισχύς των Σιιτών.

Όσον αφορά τη Συρία, από τις αρχές του Μαρτίου έχουμε, σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία του ΟΗΕ, πάνω από 3.000 νεκρούς. Η διεθνής κοινότητα δεν έχει καταφέρει να εκπέμψει εκείνο το μήνυμα που θα κάνει τον Άσαντ να υποχωρήσει. Η αναγνώριση, πάντως, από την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση του εθνικού μεταβατικού συμβουλίου της Συρίας είναι ένα βήμα στη σωστή κατεύθυνση.

Για άλλη μια φορά η Ένωση καλείται να στηρίξει την προσπάθεια εκδημοκρατισμού των χωρών και να διαφυλάξει την ομαλή εφαρμογή των αλλαγών. Πρέπει να στείλουμε ένα ισχυρό μήνυμα ώστε να ανοίξει ο δρόμος για τη μακροπρόθεσμη σταθερότητα και ανάπτυξη των χωρών αυτών αλλά και συνολικά της ευρύτερης περιοχής.


Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I want to thank the Vice-President/High Representative for her words here this evening. I will concentrate on Bahrain because I travelled to Bahrain a few weeks ago with a number of Irish medics and with the human rights organisation Front Line.

The specific connection was that a number of the medics who had been imprisoned had trained in Ireland and worked in Dublin. The Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin also have a huge facility in Bahrain and indeed they trained many of the doctors who were imprisoned. In this context I believe the College of Surgeons cannot continue to sit on the fence because they must do something about the totally unacceptable breaches of medical neutrality. They have a duty of care to their former students and also to the medical profession as a whole.

I would also like to echo your words, Vice-President/High Representative, when you say that the civilian courts should now move to drop all charges. The Bahraini authorities cannot seek to legitimise the entire process simply by changing from military to civilian courts. Yes, it may look positive, and it is, but only on the surface. The arrests of the medics and the subsequent and well supported allegations of torture, with no access to family members or to legal advisers, cannot be legitimised, and all charges must be dropped.

We also have the situation where there are at least 80 people who remain in prison. Furthermore I would like to draw your attention to an extremely serious situation where a number of prisoners, including a man called Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, are on hunger strike. Again I mention Abdulhadi because he worked with Front Line human rights organisation in Dublin and was arrested when he returned to Bahrain. He is on hunger strike protesting at the severe mistreatment of a number of women who protested in the City Centre Mall. Vice-President/High Representative Ashton, I agree with you: real dialogue and real reforms are the only ways to achieve a long-term sustainable solution in Bahrain.


Ashley Fox (ECR). - Mr President, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Kingdom have a shared history rooted in friendship and cooperation, and that friendship, ranging from our military links to excellent trade relations and close diplomatic ties, has benefitted both our nations. However, in order to fulfil our role as a friend of Bahrain we must be honest and when things go wrong we must say so clearly. So we are now saying clearly to Bahrain that we demand respect for human rights and the upholding of political freedom.

The conviction and sentencing of 20 doctors and nurses who treated injured protestors was appalling. I am pleased that, following the intervention of the international community, the Bahraini Government has nullified those sentences. I agree with Ms Harkin that the prosecutions should now be dropped.

I welcome the establishment of an independent commission composed of international figures to look into the events of recent months and into allegations of human rights abuses, and I join with Baroness Ashton in saying that what Bahrain requires is a genuine dialogue between government and opposition. We look to the Bahraini authorities to take action to inject real confidence into that process.


Magdi Cristiano Allam (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il massacro dei cristiani in Egitto è soltanto l'ultimo atto di una lunga serie di atrocità che si perpetuano innanzitutto su un piano istituzionale, dove i cristiani sin dalla nascita vengono marchiati, comparendo la menzione della religione su tutti i documenti ufficiali, e nel momento in cui la Costituzione afferma che in Egitto la religione ufficiale dello Stato è l'Islam e la sharia, la legge coranica, è la fonte principale della legislazione.

I cristiani oggi in Egitto sono il 10% della popolazione. Nel VII secolo erano il 99%. Dal 1945 dieci milioni di cristiani hanno abbandonato la sponda meridionale e orientale del Mediterraneo. Negli ultimi sei mesi 93.000 cristiani hanno abbandonato l'Egitto. Questa è pulizia etnica.

Io chiedo alla baronessa Ashton di andare al di là delle denunce e al di là di risoluzioni che non abbiano delle conseguenze e degli atti concreti. Se in Libia abbiamo pensato a bombardare quella popolazione, credo che in Egitto dobbiamo come minimo contemplare l'adozione di sanzioni per far rispettare i diritti fondamentali della persona e i valori assoluti e universali che sono la sacralità della vita, la pari dignità tra le persone e la libertà religiosa.


Tunne Kelam (PPE). - Mr President, the appalling fact of the latest massacre of Copts in Egypt is that it happened under the new interim government, only a month before what it is hoped will be free elections. This will cast serious doubts on the democratic prospects for Egypt.

Copts are among the oldest inhabitants of this ancient country and they participated actively, and in a spirit of solidarity, in demonstrations that put an end to the previous regime. The Egyptian revolution is – as you put it, Baroness Ashton – owned by all its citizens, including Copts. Now our External Action Service has to address this problem in a very forceful way, and I think we need to remind the new regimes that the basic criterion for democracy remains the establishment of secular constitutionalism. We need to indicate clearly that founding the constitutions of the revolutionary Arab countries on Sharia law is bound to legalise ongoing discrimination and the persecution of minorities. Democracy and human rights will not triumph if the constitutional starting point for the new regimes is fundamentally tilted in favour of a single dominant tradition.


Alf Svensson (PPE). - Herr talman! Är det någon gång som Europaparlamentets röst ska höras entydigt och klart så är det självfallet i sådana här sammanhang, det vill säga när mänskliga fri- och rättigheter kränks runt om i vår värld. Nu talar vi om Nordafrika och vi talar mer specifikt om vissa länder där. Minoriteten kopterna finns i Egypten, men vi vet att det finns fler minoriteter och det gäller att vi inte bara talar om detta vid ett tillfälle, utan att denna röst hörs ständigt och ihärdigt. Det är för övrigt också vad Lissabonfördraget kräver och förväntar sig av oss. Mänskliga fri- och rättigheter är inte något som vi ska påtvinga de här länderna, utan snarare något som ska lyfta dem.

Sedan kan jag inte låta bli att också erinra om hur det var när saudiska trupper kallades in i Bahrain. Det var faktiskt genant, för att inte säga famöst, att se de saudiska trupperna och stridsvagnarna komma in och mangla ner människor som törstade och hungrade efter frihet, med tanke på att det var vi i väst, om man med väst menar USA och Europa, som hade utrustat dessa trupper med stridsvagnar och vapen.

Detta hade vi gjort därför att vi satte stabilitet före demokrati, och jag tror att detta måste vara en lärdom för oss framöver: Att inte hålla stabiliteten så högt så att vi accepterar att demokratin trampas ner eller inte lyfts upp tillräckligt starkt och tydligt. För det har vi inte gjort och den eftertanken måste nu få utrymme och härska också framöver. Oljan fanns i Saudiarabien och finns där fortfarande, men demokratin måste också komma dit.


Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE). - Mr President, in Yemen we observe a situation where initially peaceful protests against the rule of President Saleh have been overtaken by an increasingly violent power struggle among government forces and tribal militias. Anti-government demonstrations persist throughout major cities, the economy is collapsing, violence is ubiquitous, shortages of electricity and fuel are evident and outlying provinces are no longer under government control, but in some cases in the hands of Islamic militants, some of whom are associated with al-Qa’ida.

Although Yemen’s death toll is low in comparison with some other Arab Spring countries, this number has been rising, and if there is no immediate help from outside it could lead to the disintegration of the country and civil war. I would say to the High Representative that we should prevent this scenario from becoming a reality.

In Egypt, there is an alarming wave of concern regarding the Christian community’s deteriorating conditions. We must stress the need for Egypt to ban all discrimination based on religion, language, gender or ethnicity. I would urge the High Representative to use all the instruments at her disposal to ensure that the rights of minorities are upheld and implemented and that the universal rights of peaceful protest and religious freedom are respected.


Zuzana Roithová (PPE). - Vážená paní vysoká komisařko, nedělní masakr křesťanů v Káhiře, za kterým stojí de facto dnes vládnoucí egyptská armáda, je naprosto nepřijatelný. Překvapilo mne, že jste jej ve svém pondělním prohlášení jednoznačně neodsoudila jako zločinecký směr, kterým se nesmí Egypt v žádném případě ubírat. Souhlasím s Vámi, že je potřeba případ vyšetřit a konkrétní viníky dostat před soud. Ale protože to není jediný exces vůči Koptům, tak to nestačí. Je třeba politický akt. Dovoluji si Vás požádat, abyste důrazně varovala egyptské vůdce, že naše, tedy evropská podpora bude nekompromisně podmíněná zajištěním skutečné svobody náboženského vyznání a že islamizace provázená zabíjením Koptů je zločinem. Zločinem, proti kterému musí elity Unie rázně vystoupit a nedovolit jeho relativizování. Jinak ztratíme respekt.


Ana Gomes (S&D). - Mr President, the Arab Spring continues to flourish in the blood of all those who are falling from the bullets of the oppressive regimes of Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and, I must say, the armed forces of Egypt. However, as much as it flourishes in the brave men and women – like Tawakul Karman – who continue to rise up and fight against these oppressive regimes, it is our duty to understand this is not going to happen overnight. We have to support these people, show our solidarity and actively support them in many ways. We have to demand accountability; demand that our own governments do not continue to export weapons and other repressive instruments to these regimes and we have to find clever ways to mobilise and support the civil society that has been so brave.

We must do everything we can to make sure that these people hear our cry of solidarity. That can be done in many ways so that, together with the liberation of Gilad Shalit, the Arab Spring will bring about the liberation of all those Syrians, Bahrainis, Palestinians, Egyptians and Yemenis who are in jail.

We cannot conceal the fact that the regime of Saudi Arabia has tremendous responsibility in what is happening both in Bahrain and in Yemen. We need to also demand this kind of accountability from our own governments as regards relations with Saudi Arabia.


Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL). - São preocupantes os factos que já aqui foram debatidos e que se vivem em diferentes países da África e também do Médio Oriente. Mas eu queria aqui dar especial atenção à posição da União Europeia, sempre ambígua e sempre de dois pesos e de duas pedidas, porque, enquanto na Líbia as tropas e bombas e outro material bélico da União Europeia continuam a matar civis, no Bahrein ficaram calados quando a Arábia Saudita foi com as suas tropas esmagar as contestações populares ao regime e continuam sem ter uma intervenção firme quando assistimos a condenações de pessoas que intervieram nessas manifestações ou até de pessoal da saúde ou simples médicos que trataram os feridos.

Não podemos aceitar que isto continue e não podemos aceitar porque a Arábia Saudita tem petróleo ou porque no Bahrein está a quinta frota norte-americana, que os Estados Unidos façam dali a sua grande base estratégica, que isto sirva para a União Europeia se manter calada e, por isso, Senhora Vice-Presidente, lhe pedimos que mude de posição.


Anna Záborská (PPE) - Egypt nebude slobodný, pokiaľ v ňom kresťania a moslimovia nebudú mať rovnaké práva. Musíme rozhodne odsúdiť násilie, ktoré sa odohralo na námestí Tahrir len pred niekoľkými dňami. Buďme dôslední. Lady Ashton, naši diplomati musia egyptským partnerom pri každej príležitosti pripomínať, že Európa bude spolupracovať len so skutočne slobodným Egyptom. Ale zároveň vyzdvihnime snahy pápeža, Schenoudu III a veľkého imáma Ahmeda al-Tayeba o zmierenie a začatie náboženského dialógu. Národné zmierenie kresťanov a moslimov je cestou ku skutočnej slobode nielen v Egypte, ale aj v ďalších krajinách Arabskej jari. V uliciach Káhiry sa na odevoch ľudí objavili odznaky s krížom a polmesiacom, pod ktorými je nápis Som Egypťan. To vzbudzuje nádej a podporme ju.


Mario Mauro (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, i cristiani in Egitto sono vittime per l'ennesima volta di una lotta per il potere. Più in generale, tutte le vittime delle rivolte e delle rivoluzioni arabe rischiano di essere uccise due volte, perché, se magari dopo un ciclo di elezioni avremo in questi paesi Costituzioni che negano la libertà, negano i diritti ed esprimono norme discriminatorie, verrà tradita la ragione per cui tutta questa gente è scesa in piazza.

Ora, è chiaro che per esempio Dio non è presente nella Costituzione americana e in quella sudanese allo stesso modo. Dio non c'è nella Costituzione francese e non c'è neanche in quella cinese, ma il risultato non è lo stesso. Noi dobbiamo essere interlocutori credibili perché nella determinazione dei nuovi testi costituzionali ci si riconosca in valori comuni che garantiscano la libertà. Per questo l'Europa deve far sentire la sua voce, altrimenti rischiamo in questo momento di passare da regime a regime compromettendo quello che è stato fatto in questi mesi.


Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D) - V poslednom období bolo vydaných niekoľko vyhlásení k situácii v Jemene a situácia je skutočne dramatická. Humanitárna kríza, problémy utečencov a vysťahovalcov, ale najmä problémy s podvýživou by mali vyvolať v našich radoch ešte viacej pozornosti.

Každému je jasné, že Únia sa teraz sústredí na riešenie krízy v eurozóne, ale nemôžeme zabúdať ani na svoje medzinárodné záväzky a musíme byť v nich dôslední. V pondelok 10. októbra v Luxemburgu prijali ministri zahraničných vecí na stretnutí Rady ohľadom situácie v Jemene závery, ktoré sú v podstate správne, čo sa týka popisu situácie. V poslednom, piatom bode, kde sa hovorí o reakcii Únie voči humanitárnej a politickej kríze v Jemene, sú však závery vágne. Nestačí len reagovať na aktuálne udalosti. Nestačí len vyzývať všetky zúčastnené strany v Jemene, aby spravili všetko pre mierovú politickú transformáciu. Nestačí vyjadriť pohoršenie nad neprijateľnosťou humanitárnej situácie v krajine. Únia musí mať ambície prijať razantnejšie kroky smerom k ukončeniu jemenskej drámy. A to, pani viceprezidentka, platí aj pre ostatné krajiny, o ktorých v dnešnej diskusii hovoríme.


Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, I would like to thank all the honourable Members who have spoken. I think there is a very clear message coming out from this Parliament tonight concerning the fundamental relationship between the countries in transition and their people and the need to protect human rights. In that context I am pleased to associate myself with all that has been said about the need to ensure that freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief should be at the heart of the values held in each of the countries we have been discussing this evening – especially so in the light of the difficult situations and the violence we have seen in Egypt.

I also agree with what has been said about the need to continue our engagement with civil society in the four countries we have been discussing this evening. That is something that we put – and that I put – at the forefront of the work of our delegations and of my own work. It is an enormous pleasure to meet those brave people, many of them women, who have been at the forefront of change and who are seeking the kind of society and the kind of freedoms they see that we in the European Union enjoy. We know that, if we can work collaboratively with them, we can help to engage in that process.

I do believe, as I said earlier tonight, that there is a very special role for this House to play in that process, and I urge all the honourable Members to take up that challenge too, and be willing to engage with civil society – engage with those looking for a new political process, engage with those who are looking for what I have described as ‘deep democracy’ – and offer them your support.

I agree that, in our new strategy for our neighbourhood, the ideas of mutual accountability and ‘more for more’ are really significant. They enable us to support those moving forward on reform, those in civil society and those local organisations and ordinary people who are willing their leadership on to change, and also to support those who are privileged to serve in leadership positions who likewise choose to move forward with reform, to support the economy and the kind of democratic institutions and deep democracy that we wish to see, and to keep that idea of accountability in mind.

We are responsible to the people for delivering what we say we will deliver; those in leadership are responsible for doing what they said they were going to do; and that mutual accountability should, I believe, govern the relationship we have with these countries across our neighbourhood into the future.

I have put out 11 statements on Bahrain, I have put out a number of statements on other countries, and I understand the frustration of feeling that sometimes we use words when we need to seek action. That is also why we need to keep working in the Human Rights Council and in the Security Council, supporting our colleagues in civil society who are seeking change, and making not just statements but also contacts and links in order to say what we know to be true. In Bahrain, that means saying that those who offer medical care should be treated as the heroes and heroines they are, and should not be treated badly by the regime. In Syria, it means saying that those who are trying to come together to provide alternative leadership need to be supported in doing so. In Yemen, it means saying that those who wish to see President Saleh finally do what he said he would also need to be supported, not just with the humanitarian aid we have provided, but also with the full range of support which we can offer.

I know that honourable Members are concerned about the situation in this region and especially in Egypt, a country that has all the potential to be a true and great democracy. It has the potential to throw off the shackles of the past 30 years and grow into the kind of country that the people who stood together day after day in Tahrir Square – people of all faiths, all beliefs and all views, men and women, young and old – have fought for. That is what we have to help the people of Egypt actually to achieve.


President. − The debate is closed.

The vote will take place at the October II part-session.

Written statements (Rule 149)


Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), în scris. – Sprijin această rezoluţie şi îmi exprim speranţa că represiunile violente din Bahrain, Egipt şi Yemen vor înceta. În momentul în care un lider sau o clasă conducătoare alege violenţa pentru a se menţine la putere, legitimitatea deciziilor sale are foarte mult de suferit. Când printre victime se regăsesc femei şi copii nevinovaţi, situaţia trebuie condamnată la unison de către toţi cei care cred în valorile democraţiei, în libertatea de expresie şi în dreptul unui cetăţean de a-şi contesta propriii conducători.


Elena Băsescu (PPE), în scris. – Continuarea violenţelor în Yemen, Siria şi Bahrein este profund îngrijorătoare. Recentele atacuri asupra comunităţii creştine din Egipt constituie un motiv suplimentar de preocupare. Ele sunt un semn al tulburărilor profunde care încă mai există în societate. Utilizarea violenţei nu este calea pentru a reconstrui statul pe fundamente democratice. Consider că reacţia armatei egiptene la manifestaţia paşnică a creştinilor copţi reprezintă o demonstraţie de forţă periculoasă. Tensiunile inter-religioase pot destabiliza Egiptul şi întreaga regiune. Pentru a le evita, autorităţile egiptene au datoria să facă lumina asupra acestor incidente. Trebuie clarificat şi rolul televiziunii naţionale, care a transmis informaţii voit eronate, cu efect de agravare a situaţiei. Solicit Înaltului Reprezentant să accentueze aceste aspecte în dialogul cu autorităţile egiptene.


Corina Creţu (S&D), în scris. – Îmi exprim aprecierea faţă de desemnarea activistei yemenite pentru drepturile femeilor şi pentru democraţie, Tawakkul Karman, între cele trei laureate ale Premiului Nobel pentru Pace din acest an. De altfel, acordarea prestigiosului premiu acestor militante pentru drepturile femeilor reprezintă o recunoaştere şi un stimul pentru rolul activ asumat, în ciuda riscurilor, pentru promovarea ideii unei societăţi paşnice şi juste. Din păcate, duminică, peste 40 de femei au fost rănite în Yemen, în cursul unei manifestaţii ce marca atribuirea Nobelului compatrioatei lor. Este o agresiune primitivă, elocventă pentru climatul de violenţă şi teroare în care trăiesc femeile yemenite.

Condamn ferm acest gen de atacuri şi solicit Uniunii Europene să fie mai drastică în apărarea drepturilor omului, inclusiv ale femeilor. Un asemenea act demonstrează că în Yemen nu este vorba doar despre plecarea de la putere a preşedintelui Saleh. După cum violenţele împotriva creştinilor din Cairo şi epurarea confesională din Irak arată că detronarea dictatorilor rămâne doar o premisă firavă a democratizării, pe care suntem datori să o susţinem mult mai mult.


João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), por escrito. – Os manifestantes que, há poucos dias, voltaram à Praça Tahir para exigir à Junta Militar que governa o Egipto (e onde se incluem os ex-responsáveis do regime de Hosni Mubarak) que transfira o poder, revogue o estado de emergência, altere a lei eleitoral e cumpra as promessas de melhoria das condições de vida da população, foram violentamente desalojados pelas forças especiais do regime. A repressão da legítima indignação popular ainda é das poucas coisas certas no Egipto.

Forças sociais e políticas egípcias têm alertado para o facto de a situação no país piorar de dia para dia desde o referendo em que os militares reclamam ter legitimado a sua governação. Denunciam a liberdade manietada, as manifestações criminalizadas, a violência da polícia civil e militar, o julgamento de civis em tribunais militares e as milícias reaccionárias, assim como a recusa de o governo não querer aumentar o salário mínimo e impor um salário máximo, ao mesmo tempo que aumenta preços e insiste em vender barato recursos nacionais como o gás. Neste cenário, é importante que a UE inverta a postura de complacência e cumplicidade que manteve durante quase duas décadas com o regime de Mubarak, bem patente nas parcerias e acordos assinados, apesar das denúncias frequentes de diversas organizações quanto à brutalidade do regime.


Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), na piśmie. – Panie Przewodniczący! Obserwując sytuację na Półwyspie Arabskim, niepokoję się o realia państw dotkniętych serią antyrządowych protestów o tak ogromnym rozmiarze. Tysiące ludzi zginęło w wyniku zamieszek, a jeszcze więcej zostało rannych. Do chwili obecnej sytuacja nie pozostawia złudzeń co do zaciętości konfliktu, czego dowodem może być wydarzenie sprzed kilku dni („Mężczyźni opłacani przez reżim prezydenta Jemenu Ali Abdullaha Saliha zaatakowali kamieniami i butelkami uczestników demonstracji z okazji przyznania Pokojowej Nagrody Nobla jemeńskiej dziennikarce Tawakkul Karman, raniąc 40 kobiet.”).

Wyjątkowy stan, w jakim znalazły się obydwa państwa, zaburza funkcjonowanie ich na wszystkich poziomach, łamane są prawa człowieka, dlatego należy doprowadzić do rozwiązania konfliktu między grupami opozycyjnymi a władzami. Konieczne jest zapanowanie pokoju oraz porozumienia między stronami oraz zaprzestanie przez rząd ataków na ludność cywilną. Apeluję do władz Jemenu i Bahrajnu o pokojowe zażegnanie konfliktu oraz zapewnienie obywatelom wolności i swobód obywatelskich. Niepokojące są również działania Al-Kaidy na wcześniej wspomnianych terytoriach, np. zamach na ministra obrony Jemenu, który dowodził ofensywą wojskową skierowaną przeciwko Al-Kaidzie. Walka z terroryzmem oraz zapewnianie bezpieczeństwa w tym rejonie świata powinny odbywać się zgodnie z zasadami ochrony praw człowieka. Należy apelować o zaprzestanie arbitralnych pobić i aresztowań. Unia Europejska może odegrać dużą rolę, podkreślając konieczność rzeczywistego wprowadzenia różnorodnych inicjatyw politycznych celem poparcia pro-demokratycznych reform w krajach arabskich.

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