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Tirsdag den 13. december 2011 - Strasbourg Revideret udgave

13. Situationen i Syrien (forhandling)
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  El Presidente. − El siguiente punto es también extraordinariamente importante y de una urgencia gravísima.

Se trata de la declaración de la Vicepresidenta de la Comisión/Alta Representante de la Unión para Asuntos Exteriores y Política de Seguridad sobre la situación en Siria (2011/2880(RSP)).

 
  
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  Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, as you indicated, this is an extremely serious issue.

Honourable Members, since we discussed the situation in Syria last October the brutal repression has continued. The situation is dramatic and particularly worrying in Homs. As honourable Members will have seen, the UN reports the number of victims has reached 5 000 people – and this may well be a conservative estimate.

The situation is totally unacceptable. The brutal repression of civilians has to stop. Assad must listen to his people, his neighbours, to the Arab partners, to Europe and to the world. We all have the same message: he should stop the violence to his own people. He should let that transition get underway.

Thousands remain in detention. The recent report of the UN International Commission of Inquiry indicates that crimes against humanity were committed by the security forces. Some people in Syria are taking up arms to defend themselves and the risk of widespread armed confrontation is increasing.

Against this complex and difficult background, we have ratcheted up our sanctions and we have done whatever we can to build a growing international consensus to isolate the regime.

I have been in regular contact with the Arab League Secretary-General, al-Araby and hosted him at the latest Foreign Affairs Council. The Arab League has our full support in their demands on the Syrian regime, including the immediate cessation of violence, withdrawal of military from cities, and the granting of humanitarian and media access.

We have also backed their plan to dispatch an observer mission to protect civilians, offering our assistance, and have welcomed their decision to impose sanctions. Regional leadership is key and should continue. The role of Turkey, with which I have been in regular contact, and its decision to impose sanctions is also crucial as we seek to weaken the regime.

We have worked hard on the international scene, stepping up contacts with key international partners to isolate further the regime and its supporters. I have discussed this with Secretary Clinton in Washington, with Prime Minister Lavrov in Moscow, with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and with Foreign Minister Davutoglu when I met him in Bonn while he was visiting there.

In the UN, successful efforts by the EU and Member States led to a resolution in the Third Committee of the General Assembly. A Special Session of the Geneva Human Rights Council was called at my initiative and a new resolution was adopted with unprecedented support in early December, establishing a Special Rapporteur for human rights in Syria.

Now all members of the UN Security Council must assume their responsibilities in relation to the situation in Syria. The EU and its Member States will continue to lead the efforts for a strong and united message.

The Syrian opposition has grown more active and is better organised, certainly over the last few months. Like honourable Members, I have met this morning with a Syrian Human Rights activist and I know the role that this Parliament has played in engaging with those activists and encouraging them and their work. I have met with other leaders of the Syrian National Council and welcomed the ongoing efforts by the Syrian opposition to try and establish a united platform and to work for a shared vision for the future of Syria and the transition to a democratic system.

We all agree on the importance of a strong and inclusive opposition political platform taking in all religious and ethnic communities. It is essential that the Syrian opposition maintains and develops its clear commitment to a peaceful and non-sectarian approach. The coordination with opposition on the ground to set out plans for the transition is of the utmost importance.

On the sanctions track, our strong response to the Syrian regime’s policy of repression has been further reinforced. Further individuals and entities linked to the regime have been added to the assets freeze and travel ban: now 86 individuals and 30 entities are on the list. At the beginning of this month, new measures were adopted to strengthen and complement the existing sanctions. In the oil sector, we have added a ban on the export of key technologies and equipment. In the financial sector, we have expanded the prohibitions on contacts with Syrian banks and we have also established a ban on the export of monitoring software and equipment in the telecommunications sector.

But despite the efforts of everyone, the Syrian regime has remained defiant. None of the opportunities offered by the Arab League have yet been accepted. We think that they need to comply fully with the Arab Plan of Action. But they want to find excuses and dilute the effectiveness of an observer mission but the Arab League I am pleased to say remains strong in their position.

Let me conclude with a word on the humanitarian situation. I believe it is increasingly worrying. Conditions are worsening in the places most badly hit by the violent repression and armed confrontation. These include electricity cuts, water supplies, shortage of basic commodities in the areas most affected such as Baba Amr, a quarter in Homs.

Most recently, a systematic denial of access has made it impossible to independently assess the situation. We are particularly concerned about the consistent reports of abuse related to the harassment of medical personnel and difficulties for wounded victims to safely access emergency health care.

We have to assume that the information provided is correct, in the absence of free and unimpeded access for aid agencies to independently assess and respond to the most urgent needs.

DG ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office) is closely monitoring the situation from Damascus and was able to carry out a field mission in October. The ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) continues to negotiate access to detainees.

We have made it clear that we are ready to provide emergency assistance should humanitarian needs be confirmed. We are also recognising the vulnerability of Syrian refugees hosted by neighbouring countries, particularly Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and we are ready to support these refugees if the host countries request our help. We have made that knowledge available to them.

Finally, I call on the Syrian authorities to allow this humanitarian access without restriction and across the country, so that Syrians who are in need can receive immediate assistance. I hope that we will see action in the Security Council and that all members will take their responsibilities, respond to this and respond to what the UN Commissioner for Human Rights has said, with a great sense of urgency.

 
  
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  José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, en nombre del Grupo PPE. – Señor Presidente, señora Alta Representante y Vicepresidenta de la Comisión, Señorías, la situación, como ha dicho la señora Ashton, se degrada día a día en Siria, con un coste elevadísimo en vidas humanas.

Se ha referido usted a las cifras avanzadas por la Alta Comisionada de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos: más de cuatro mil personas, de las cuales mil pertenecen a los cuerpos de seguridad, lo que anticipa una cruenta guerra civil en el país.

Las declaraciones de condena se han producido por todos los lados —los Estados Unidos, el Consejo Europeo, la Liga Árabe, el Consejo de Cooperación del Golfo, la Tercera Comisión de las Naciones Unidas, el Consejo de Ministros de Asuntos Exteriores de la Unión Europea—, pero, señora Ashton, yo creo que ha llegado el momento de pasar de las palabras a los hechos, porque solamente con las condenas no se puede parar esta situación.

En el plano económico, ¿qué podemos hacer? Usted lo ha dicho muy bien, señora Ashton: operativizar las sanciones económicas que hemos introducido, parar las importaciones en la Unión Europea de petróleo procedente de Siria, apoyar las decisiones de la Liga Árabe y de Turquía.

En el plano político, en primer lugar, apoyar este despliegue que ha solicitado la Liga Árabe sobre el terreno; en segundo lugar, reforzar las relaciones con el Consejo Nacional Sirio —y quería preguntarle, señora Ashton, acerca de su opinión sobre la iniciativa francesa de crear un corredor humanitario protegido por tropas internacionales—; y, por último, conseguir una resolución más contundente de las Naciones Unidas superando las reticencias de algunos miembros permanentes del Consejo de Seguridad, como China y Rusia, cuya posición es absolutamente injustificable, siguiendo la línea de las resoluciones 1970 y 1973, que, en el caso de Libia, permitieron superar la violencia criminal ejercida por un Gobierno contra su pueblo.

 
  
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  Véronique De Keyser, au nom du groupe S&D. – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Haute Représentante, mon intervention est très proche, finalement, de celle de M. Salafranca.

Vous et nous avons fait beaucoup de choses – pris des sanctions, noué des contacts avec la Ligue arabe, avec telle et telle autre organisation – mais au vu des 5 000 morts que l'on trouve aujourd'hui en Syrie et, surtout, des perspectives d'avenir qui sont tellement noires, je pense qu'il nous faut effectivement avoir à l'esprit plusieurs scénarios.

Or, tous les scénarios que je lis vont de mal en pis, que ce soit une lente répression du régime qui ne va pas, spontanément, se dessaisir de ses pouvoirs, ou un clash violent, avec un armement, par exemple, de l'armée libre syrienne, qui conduirait à une répression plus importante. Quels que soient les scénarios que nous envisageons, ils sont relativement noirs.

Nous attendons de vous un scénario un peu plus construit pour dire: voilà, on peut faire cela, voilà les risques, voilà ce que nous comptons faire. Il y a cet aspect humanitaire, vous l'avez souligné, mais ce n'est pas un scénario en soi, c'est donner un peu d'oxygène à ceux qui sont en train de se battre pour leur liberté.

Je voudrais, à cet égard, raconter les histoires merveilleuses – mais je n'en ai pas le temps ici – que nous ont racontées ces femmes syriennes sur la manière dont elles tiennent le coup, dont elles font de la médiation, dont elles soignent les victimes chez elles, font des hôpitaux à la maison, créent des fonds d'entraide pour les familles des victimes qui sont en prison, qui ont été torturées ou qui ont disparu. Il y a donc une opposition interne qui monte, et à laquelle il faudrait aussi acheminer une aide.

Il faut donc, d'une part, élaborer un scénario et, d'autre part, renforcer l'aide humanitaire, mais de grâce intervenir, en tout cas faire quelque chose.

 
  
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  Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, as we speak the Syrian city of Homs is being surrounded by no less than 400 tanks. We have seen this movie before. However, in Hama in 1982 there were no cameras acting as eye witness to the world. Now we know what is happening. Al-Assad has killed and tortured to death 5 000 citizens including children; tens of thousands are imprisoned and, instead of al-Assad meeting the ultimatums of the international community, specifically the Arab League, he has given his own citizens an ultimatum to give up members of the opposition, which remains largely peaceful.

Al-Assad orders to shoot and kill and has confirmed in his interview last week that he, as head of government and commander-in-chief, takes no responsibility at all for what is happening in his country. He has lost his dignity and his legitimacy and I believe that the EU must do everything to prevent the massacre from going on any further. The impunity must end.

We have to act more credibly and forcefully by imposing additional targeted sanctions, specifically on the families supporting this murderous regime and keeping it in power, and by implementing the Council conclusions on Syria of 1 December in which the EU decided to stop the export of technologies used to monitor the Internet, to breach and track people’s communications and information flows and to take them out of their homes based on the signals from their cell phone.

The information war that is going on is real. And as was the case with oil sanctions, the statement in relation to digital arms trade – which we have fought to stop for years – has been made. However, we still have to await its implementation, and this is hurting our credibility.

Speaking of credibility, I think it is disturbing that Cyprus blocked Turkey’s participation in the Foreign Affairs Council on Syria. What will you do to ensure that this does not happen again and that we can work with this vital partner, Turkey, on establishing humanitarian corridors and in collaborating through Turkey with NATO as well? The Syrians need the EU and Turkey to cooperate and I urge you to work on this credibility issue, which is very important.

Let us do justice to the Sakharov prize winners whom we will honour tomorrow, Razan Zaitouneh and Ali Farzat from Syria on behalf of the Arab Spring.

 
  
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  Hélène Flautre, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, j'insiste sur le dernier point soulevé par ma collègue, Mme Schaake, parce qu'il est effectivement non seulement déplorable, mais aussi totalement ridicule que l'Union européenne et son Conseil n'aient pas trouvé les moyens politiques d'inviter la Turquie à la table pour discuter de la situation syrienne.

On voit bien, aujourd'hui, que c'est dans le dialogue entre la Turquie, notamment, la Ligue arabe et l'Union européenne que peut se déployer un scénario d'avenir que Mme De Keyser appelle de ses vœux.

Il est vrai que les scénarios ne sont pas écrits, mais il y a, néanmoins, quelques assurances. D'une part, Bachar el-Assad tombera. Il va tomber. C'est la conviction profonde de tous et, au mieux, il sera déféré à la Cour pénale internationale. Donc, il tombera.

Ce qui nous le fait dire, c'est la capacité incroyable de la société civile, non seulement à se mobiliser, mais aussi à se coordonner et à s'organiser, et ce à l'échelle des quartiers, des villes, dans un réseau horizontal tout à fait efficace et impressionnant. Il suffit de regarder comment a été appliquée la première des six étapes de la grève générale en Syrie, au cours de laquelle on a appelé chacun à ne plus aller à la mosquée, à ne pas acheter dans les magasins, à fermer les magasins avant l'heure, à rester chez soi, à ne pas téléphoner, à mener en quelque sorte une opération de désobéissance civile "Syrie morte", comme on dit parfois "ville morte".

Nous voyons à quel point cette organisation est impressionnante. Il y a là vraiment, face à nous, une population qui est dans une démarche de désobéissance civile, d'action non violente. Je ne voudrais pas vraiment revenir sur les propos que vous avez rapportés – qui sont liés au rapport de la haute commissaire aux droits de l'homme, et qu'a repris M. Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra –, mais je n'ai pas du tout le sentiment que l'on soit aujourd'hui au bord de la guerre civile. Ce qui est certain, c'est que des militaires, de plus en plus nombreux – ceux de l'armée syrienne libre –, sont en train d'assumer la protection des populations en coordination avec les comités locaux.

Il nous faut absolument nous rendre utile dans cette bataille très concrète sur le terrain qui est menée de manière non violente avec une défense et une protection assurées par l'armée syrienne libre. C'est là que nous devons être efficaces, ce qui passe par des choses très simples et très concrètes: l'aide des radios, la communication, des capacités de renseignements pour cette opposition, les capacités du domaine des nouvelles technologies que l'on vendait à el-Assad et qu'il faut aujourd'hui fournir à l'opposition.

Voilà comment nous pouvons renforcer concrètement leur capacité d'action et je crois ...

(Le Président retire la parole à l'oratrice)

 
  
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  Sajjad Karim, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, over the past few months, I and other colleagues have raised from the floor of this House the whole issue of the way in which the regime was beginning to target those who were getting the message out via the Internet and other means. It is on that basis that I welcome the ‘No Disconnect Strategy’ that has been announced by the Commission. I thank the Commission, and indeed the Commissioner, for delivering on what she said she would.

Commissioner, in relation to the Syrian National Council, whilst I welcome the recognition of it, I must say that it is not entirely inclusive. Therefore we have to ensure that we keep the door open for all groups. Only last week I hosted a conference in Parliament to which all opposition groups were invited. Many attended who were not part of the SNC. It is clear that, whilst of course it is right that they all maintain and indeed develop and promote their individual ideologies and policies, it is vitally essential that, unless they unite in the purpose of opposition, they will not realise their goals of freedom, democracy, transparency and above all the right to claim their country for themselves, a goal which the vast majority of Syrians want to achieve.

 
  
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  Τάκης Χατζηγεωργίου, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας GUE/NGL. – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, θέλω κατ’ αρχάς να αναφερθώ σ’ αυτό που ελέχθη από τις συναδέλφισσες για την ανάγκη να συμμετάσχει η Τουρκία στις διαβουλεύσεις σχετικά με τη Συρία και θέλω να υποστηρίξω και εγώ το ίδιο αίτημα. Προέρχομαι από την Κύπρο, πιστεύω όμως ότι η ίδια πίεση που ασκείται από τις συναδέλφισσες για να συμμετάσχει η Τουρκία στη διευθέτηση των προβλημάτων της Συρίας θα πρέπει επίσης να ασκείται προς την Τουρκία για να απελευθερώσει την Κύπρο, να επιτρέψει σε 200.000 - 300.000 κόσμο να επιστρέψει στα σπίτια του και να αποσύρει τις 40.000 στρατό που έχει στην Κύπρο. Αυτό θα δείξει ότι είμαστε υπέρ της ελευθερίας παντού και όχι υπέρ της ελευθερίας μόνο για ένα κομμάτι του πλανήτη.

Εμείς πιστεύουμε ότι την Αραβική Άνοιξη δεν φαίνεται να την ακολουθεί κανένα καλοκαίρι. Μάλλον την ακολουθεί βαρύς, κρύος χειμώνας, και αυτό φαίνεται από τις δεκάδες χιλιάδες νεκρούς στη Λιβύη πρόσφατα, τώρα στη Συρία. Δεν μπορεί άλλωστε να θεωρείται Αραβική Άνοιξη μια άνοιξη λουσμένη στα αίματα. Καλούμε λοιπόν τη συριακή κυβέρνηση να ανοίξει εθνικό διάλογο με τις πολιτικές δυνάμεις της αντιπολίτευσης με στόχο την πολιτική και ειρηνική έξοδο από την επικίνδυνη αυτή κατάσταση άμεσα, πριν να είναι αργά για τη χώρα και το λαό της. Αν θέλουμε δε ως Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση να διαδραματίσουμε καθοριστικό ρόλο στην προαγωγή της δημοκρατίας και των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων, θα πρέπει να επικεντρώσουμε τις προσπάθειές μας στην έναρξη …

(Ο Πρόεδρος διακόπτει τον ομιλητή)

 
  
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  Bastiaan Belder, namens de EFD-Fractie. – Voorzitter, uit de schriftelijke en mondelinge bronnen die mij over de gruwelijke machtsstrijd in Syrië ter beschikking staan, rijzen enkele urgente vragen aan het adres van mevrouw Ashton. En ik moet zeggen: ze zijn erg gekleurd door het dagelijks telefonisch contact dat ik met een vriend, een Arabist, die in Damascus promoveert, heb.

Ik noem ze even op, mijn vragen aan u, mevrouw Ashton. Onderhoudt u rechtstreeks contact met de Syrische Nationale Raad, of is dat slechts voorbehouden aan enkele prominente lidstaten? Hoe kijkt u aan tegen het gegeven dat deze Syrische Nationale Raad niet alleen wordt gedomineerd door de moslimbroeders, maar ook nog eens verschillende accenten legt bij zijn presentatie in het buitenland: anti-Iran, anti-Hezbollah en in het binnenland: anti-Israël?

Een derde vraag: met een eventuele val van het regime-Assad verdwijnt de enige en laatste seculiere staat in het Midden-Oosten. Dat beklemtoont elke analist die ik spreek vanuit Damascus - buitenlanders, geen Syriërs. Welke gevolgen heeft dat volgens u voor de Syrische religieuze minderheden die circa 25 à 40% van de bevolking uitmaken?

De visies van de binnen- en buitenlandse Syrische oppositie lopen uiteen. Dialoog met het regime-Assad versus gewelddadige omverwerping van dit regime, dat willen zeggen burgeroorlog. Wat denkt u van het voorstel van de Syrische dissident die ik vandaag sprak, om Europese steun aan de Syrische Nationale Raad te koppelen aan de plicht tot onderhandeling met het regime-Assad ten einde te voorkomen dat het land afglijdt.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI). - Herr Präsident! Einigermaßen grotesk wirkte der jüngste Fernsehauftritt von Syriens Diktator Assad, als er jegliche Schuld an den tausenden Toten in seinem Land bestritt. Nach Trotz klingen seine Aussagen, dass ihn Sanktionen nicht erschrecken können. Die von der EU bis dato erlassenen Maßnahmen wie Waffenembargo, Kontensperrungen, Investitionsverbot und Importstop von Öl belasten sicherlich die syrische Konjunktur. Mit zunehmendem wirtschaftlichem Druck zieht sich die Schlinge um Assad auf jeden Fall fester zusammen. Nur auf diese Art und Weise darf Europa Druck auf das Regime ausüben. Mit der Arabischen Liga sind wir ja diesbezüglich weitestgehend d'accord. Es ist wichtig, dass weiterhin nicht nur der Westen, sondern auch die Arabische Liga und der Golf Kooperationsrat Assad zu ernsthaften Reformen und zur Beendigung des Blutvergießens auffordern.

Feststeht, dass der Widerstand in der Bevölkerung offenbar wächst. Man denke nur an die jüngsten Generalstreiks. Obgleich diese Assad wohl erst dann schmerzen werden, wenn die Hauptstadt Damaskus und die Wirtschaftsmetropole Aleppo betroffen sind. Beide scheinen ja noch fest in der Hand des Diktators zu sein. Auch wenn die syrische Opposition nun bei den großen weltpolitischen Akteuren auf Werbetour unterwegs ist, muss klar sein, dass eine militärische Intervention seitens der Union nicht in Frage kommt. Falls Assad dem wirtschaftlichen Druck nachgibt und wirklich ein Bürgerkrieg ausbrechen sollte, ist jedenfalls mit einer Flüchtlingswelle zu rechnen. Dafür müsste man seitens der Europäischen Union entsprechende Vorkehrungen treffen.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE). - Monsieur le Président, Madame la Haute représentante, nous sommes tous d'accord, et ce depuis plusieurs mois. M. el-Assad n'a plus aucune légitimité et doit quitter le pouvoir. L'ampleur de la répression contre son propre peuple est tout à fait intolérable.

Après celles de l'Union européenne et des États-Unis, je me réjouis de la décision de la Ligue arabe d'adopter des mesures coercitives contre le régime syrien et de chercher les moyens les plus adéquats pour protéger les civils. Nous devons continuer à travailler de concert avec la Ligue arabe et la Turquie. Les jours du régime syrien sont comptés, mais il nous faut maintenir la pression sur ce régime indigne, qui a déjà tué près de 5 000 personnes. J'appelle l'Union européenne et la communauté internationale à prendre des mesures urgentes et efficaces pour protéger le peuple syrien.

D'autre part, le silence du Conseil de sécurité est un scandale. Le sommet "Union européenne-Russie" de cette fin de semaine serait l'occasion de rappeler les conséquences humaines de cette répression et de faire revoir à la Russie sa position aux Nations unies. Si l'on ne met pas un terme rapide à ces exactions, le pays risque de plonger dans une guerre civile, et c'est la région dans son ensemble qui en subira les répercussions.

Madame la Haute représentante, je vous encourage à poursuivre vos efforts afin que les aspirations exprimées par les Syriens puissent se réaliser dans un avenir que nous espérons tous le plus proche possible.

 
  
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  Saïd El Khadraoui (S&D). - Voorzitter, collega's, mevrouw Ashton, de straffeloosheid waarmee de Syrische autoriteiten 5000 of meer mensen hebben afgeslacht, is natuurlijk wraakroepend en ontoelaatbaar. De manier waarop president El Assad de verantwoordelijkheid hiervoor van zich afschuift, is grotesk. De onmacht om een duidelijke resolutie in de VN-Veiligheidsraad te laten goedkeuren is frustrerend, zeker omdat meer geweld nakend zou zijn.

De EU moet haar inspanningen voortzetten om het regime te isoleren, de sancties uit te breiden, bondgenoten in de regio te zoeken. Een regime dat haar eigen bevolking zo brutaal aanpakt, zal vroeg of laat vallen. Alleen weten we niet of dit snel kan gebeuren of pas na een bloedige burgeroorlog met een oppositie die zich verplicht voelt om zich te bewapenen.

Essentieel is dan ook om in een land dat nooit een echte oppositie heeft gekend, de oppositie te helpen zich zodanig te organiseren dat alle partijen en gemeenschappen zich vertegenwoordigd voelen. Ik denk, mevrouw Ashton, dat wij als Europese Unie een bijdrage kunnen leveren om ervoor te zorgen dat deze oppositie sterker en geloofwaardiger wordt en goed georganiseerd zal zijn.

 
  
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  Carmen Romero López (S&D). - Señor Presidente, quiero seguir en esa línea que acaba de trazar mi compañero El Khadraoui, porque es cierto que todo lo que hasta ahora se ha hecho no es suficiente. Ni los embargos ni las sanciones son suficientes. El régimen sirio sigue masacrando a su población y no hay más remedio que seguir trabajando para que el ejército se retire a sus cuarteles y la población no sea masacrada. Por eso, creo que hay que seguir trabajando también en esta línea.

Pero quería insistir en que tenemos que fortalecer la oposición democrática; es cierto que son activistas, pero debemos darle protagonismo al Consejo Nacional Sirio, independientemente de quién forme parte del mismo.

Este Consejo Nacional Sirio es una plataforma que tiene bastante representatividad, no solo fuera sino también dentro de Siria, y hay que darle esa capacidad de interlocución para que sea quien mejor nos diga lo que está ocurriendo allí y en qué sentido la comunidad internacional y el Parlamento Europeo pueden apoyar esos esfuerzos, porque estos esfuerzos tienen...

(El Presidente retira la palabra a la oradora)

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D). - Mr President, we are starting to gain an appreciation of the effects of the sanctions aimed at crippling the efficacy of the Syrian regime. Many opposition leaders have welcomed the sanctions as a means to cut off the government’s ability to maintain its massive security apparatus, but many observers have also stressed the damage that some of the sanctions are doing to the Syrian people, with skyrocketing prices for basic foodstuffs and the rapid devaluation of the Syrian pound.

It is important to continue using sanctions. We should intensify our pressure against the selling of arms to the Syrian regime, and we should further penalise those providing military equipment or technological support. However, we should avoid impacting too much on ordinary citizens.

Finally, it is fundamental to promote the acceptance of an international role in ending the conflict in Syria. I am not talking about the acceptability of a Libya-like scenario for Syria, but of mediation undertaken by a multilateral entity like the UN, the EU, the Arab League or others. I would be glad to know what your ideas on this issue are.

 
  
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  Marco Scurria (PPE). - Signor Presidente, Lady Ashton ha dichiarato che in Siria deve terminare la repressione e iniziare la transizione.

Ebbene, tutti noi ci chiediamo come ciò possa avvenire nella realtà: è vero, le sanzioni sono state inasprite, anche se da questo punto di vista dobbiamo migliorarle ulteriormente per renderle più effettive, ma è anche vero che il regime non ascolta più neppure la Lega araba.

Qual è, e quale può diventare, allora il nostro ruolo? Io penso che lo sforzo di Lady Ashton deve essere teso innanzitutto ad esercitare grandi pressioni su ONU, Cina e Russia perché se Assad sentirà vicine Cina e Russia non si sentirà solo.

Il ruolo che queste due nazioni stanno svolgendo nelle Nazioni Unite è davvero discutibile, così come discutibili sono i finanziamenti che l'Unione europea ha elargito alla Siria – anzi ad Assad – fino a qualche mese fa. Non era forse un dittatore, prima? Non privava di libertà e democrazia il suo paese fino a qualche tempo fa?

Ebbene, dobbiamo uscire da questa concezione del politicamente corretto, dove chiunque sieda al tavolo con noi basta a renderlo meritevole di concessione di denaro e intrattenere rapporti con l'Unione europea. In Siria .....

(Il Presidente interrompe l'oratore)

 
  
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  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 those who have taken part in this extremely important debate, where we have looked at how we can best support the people of Syria.

I just want to deal with a few of the issues that were raised. I will begin with what was said by Mr Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra at the beginning and to reassure honourable Members of the things that we are trying to do. We have strong economic sanctions, we keep them under constant review and we ratchet them up in order to try to put on as much pressure as possible. We hope that the new sanctions that the Arab League are going to put on will also have a strong effect in order to make the regime realise what they must do. That does include an oil embargo.

We worked closely with the Arab League. That is why we invited Secretary-General al-Araby to come to the Foreign Affairs Council. We are supporting them in any way we can as they think about how to get monitors to do their deployment on the ground. So we have already made it clear that we will support them in any way that it is possible.

The idea of a humanitarian corridor has been dropped. Some ideas come and they are looked at and examined and then it is decided that they are not going to work in the way that we wanted. Therefore, that idea is no longer on the table. It is very important – as a number of honourable Members have said – that we continue to work in the Security Council to try to get a stronger, unanimous view on what needs to happen. Indeed I did raise this when I travelled to China and I raised this with the Foreign Minister of Russia when I was in Moscow very recently. We raised the problem with Syria – the difficulties to the people of Syria – in all of our international meetings.

I would just say to Ms De Keyser, we do meet with the opposition. We have met those who have come forward and asked to meet with us. We do not discriminate about whom we meet. We talk to them all, but we give the same messages about the need to be inclusive and to be supportive of the human rights of everybody who is concerned about what is happening in their country.

We have made it very clear that al-Assad must go, but I must correct something that Ms Schaake and Ms Flautre both said. It was not Cyprus that blocked Turkey coming to the Foreign Affairs Council. This is totally and utterly untrue. What happened was that we were asked, we discussed the matter and I invited the Secretary-General of the Arab League. He wished to come on an institution-to-institution meeting. The previous week I had met with the Foreign Minister of Turkey – Foreign Minister Davutoglu – and I proposed at the Foreign Affairs Council, on the day that the Arab League were coming, that at the next meeting we should invite Foreign Minister Davutoglu. I was supported in that by everyone, including Cyprus. So please, for the record, it really is important that you understand that it was not Cyprus blocking. I did not invite them because in discussion with the Arab League they wanted to meet institution-to-institution. Therefore I have invited the Foreign Minister of Turkey, whom I meet and discuss these issues with a great deal. I am looking forward very much to seeing him when he comes in January.

It is important, as everyone has said, to involve all groups. I am glad, Mr Karim, that you appreciate the ‘No Disconnect Strategy’ that has been announced today by Neelie Kroes. We are working very closely with her on that. That will be important because of the significance of technology, which a number of honourable Members have raised as well. We will continue to meet with all of the groups.

Mr Belder, we do meet with the Syrian National Council. I have already met with them. It is not just Member States who meet with them, though I encourage Member States to meet with opposition parties and opposition leaders in order to get the breadth of our experience of what is happening and to look for ways in which we can support people more effectively.

We are supporting the Arab League, Mr Arlacchi, in its efforts to try to move the situation on and to persuade the regime to understand what it has to do. We are very clear that al-Assad should go. We have made it very clear for some months that, frankly, if you behave in this way, if you kill your people, you have lost the rights for leadership. The important thing is to try to work with all our partners to put the pressure on.

I just want to echo again the importance of getting the UN Security Council to now move on this. We will do everything we can, but we actually need international partners to really push forward with us on this, in order that we can get the maximum effect.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Para cerrar el debate se han presentado seis propuestas de resolución de conformidad con el artículo 110, apartado 2, del Reglamento.(1)

Se cierra el debate.

La votación tendrá lugar el jueves a las 11.30 horas.

Declaraciones por escrito (artículo 149 del Reglamento)

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR), in writing. The attacks throughout Syria perpetrated by the regime’s forces have increased in their brutality, with rape, torture and executions commonplace and more than 5000 deaths reported, and are reminiscent of the ruthless tactics during the 1982 Hama massacre. President Al-Assad must immediately cease the use of lethal force against peaceful protestors, stand down from power and allow the citizens of Syria to choose their own leaders by free and fair elections. Time is running out for the Baathist regime, and the international community must act decisively as it is likely according to the UN Commissioner for Human Rights that crimes against humanity have been committed. There is also looming danger that Syria may be plunged into a bloody civil war, with the Islamic Republic of Iran on one side and Saudi Arabia the other. I deeply regret the intransigence demonstrated by Russia and China at the United Nations Security Council in vetoing more hard-hitting sanctions against Damascus, and call for the High Representative to urgently increase her efforts to build an international consensus against the regime’s behaviour.

 
  

(1) Véase el Acta

Juridisk meddelelse - Databeskyttelsespolitik