Exchange of Views on the situation in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Gaza
The Committee on Foreign Affairs met on 23.09.14 with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) Director of Operations in Gaza, Bob Turner, to discuss the situation in the region. Following the recent resolutions adopted by the European Parliament, the Committee also discussed the political situation and the ratification of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, as well as the situation in Iraq-Syria, Gaza and Libya.
AFET Chair Brok urges DPRK official to engage constructively with int. community
Should the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) show clear commitment in issues related to nuclear disarmament and human rights, the EU could re-engage with it, said EP Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) in a meeting with Kang Sok Ju, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of Korea and Director of the Party’s International Department.
Following an initiative from the North Korean side, Mr Brok met Mr Kang on Tuesday, 9 September, in Brussels.
“We exchanged views on the state of our bilateral relations as well as on the prospects of progress in the inter-Korean dialogue. The discussion was quite open and frank”, said Mr Brok after the meeting.
“The EU would welcome any initiative contributing to mutual trust, regional stability and peace. We hope that North Korea will return to the Six-Party talks, within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, after sincere signs of such commitment from the DPRK”, stressed Mr Brok.
“The EU expects from the DPRK a tangible sign of willingness and readiness to re-engage; this could be the re-launch of the Human Rights Dialogue which had been broken off in 2003”, he stated.
Mr Brok added that the EU would stand ready to provide humanitarian aid and favour North Korea's participation in the Erasmus Mundus and Marie Curie programmes.
Mr Kang is the Secretary of the Central committee of the Workers Party and Director of the Party's International Relations Department. He is also the former negotiator of the nuclear deal of 1993-94.
Consent to Ukraine Assoc. Agreement and discussion with Grand Mufti of Egypt
On Monday, 8 September, the AFET Committee adopted, by a large majority, the report of Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP, PL) giving consent to the Association Agreement with Ukraine. By doing so, the AFET Committee enables Parliament to vote next week in Strasbourg, together with the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada. The AFET Chair (Elmar Brok) pointed out that this Agreement is profoundly desired by the Ukrainian population and that Parliament, through this ratification, clearly shows its solidarity with Ukraine in these times of crisis.
The committee also held an exchange of views with Dr Shawqi Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt. The Grand Mufti reiterated its condemnation of ISIS as a radical group which uses religion for its own purposes. Nothing of what ISIS claims or does is supported by Islam. The Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Elmar Brok, shared the concerns of the Grand Mufti about young Muslims being drawn to a flawed interpretation of Islam and into radicalism. He concurred with the Grand Mufti about the importance of encouraging moderate forces to come to the fore and promote democratic principles.
Meeting between AFET Chair Brok and Iran´s Foreign Affairs Minister Zarif
Elmar Brok, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, held on 1st of September a bilateral meeting with Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif. A large part of the meeting was dedicated to the nuclear talks, that are due to resume in the coming weeks, as well as to the situation in Iraq. Also human rights issues in Iran were discussed, including the situation of the 2012 Sakharov prize laureates Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi.