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Onsdagen den 4 juli 2012 - Strasbourg Reviderad upplaga

15. Situationen i Syrien (debatt)
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  Πρόεδρος. - Το επόμενο σημείο στην ημερήσια διάταξη είναι η συζήτηση επί της δηλώσεως της Αντιπροέδρου της Επιτροπής/Ύπατης Εκπροσώπου της Ένωσης για θέματα Εξωτερικής Πολιτικής και Πολιτικής Ασφαλείας σχετικά με την κατάσταση στη Συρία

 
  
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  Andreas Mavroyiannis, President-in-Office of the Council, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, it is my pleasure to present to you the EU’s position and latest activities on Syria on behalf of the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton.

The situation in Syria continues to gravely concern the European Union. Violence has increased and the numbers of casualties have reached unimaginable levels. The risk of civil war has become more real and there are already signs of increasing sectarian conflict.

Human rights abuses continue. Any further militarisation of the conflict would have a serious impact not only on the Syrian people but on the region as a whole. In response, the European Union stepped up its activities on Syria with the aim of urgently bringing about an end to the violence and finding a solution to allow for a Syrian-led political transition to take place.

This week is particularly busy as efforts take place at international level to consolidate, unify and strengthen the international community’s response to the Syrian conflict. This is exactly what the High Representative/Vice-President presented in this Chamber during the last plenary session: the need for a road map to support Kofi Annan, strengthen international pressure and make diplomatic efforts more united and robust, including the call for UN Security Council action and the involvement of Russia and China.

The High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton participated in the meeting of the Action Group for Syria in Geneva convened by Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Saturday. As you know, the participants in the meeting, the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the European Union, China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey, Iraq and Kuwait, agreed on the principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led transition which includes the establishment of a transitional government body exercising full executive powers. The transitional governing body could include members of the present government on the basis of mutual agreement.

The Action Group also reiterated its full support to Kofi Annan in his six-point plan, as well as for the United Nations observation mission in Syria giving the Special Envoy’s activities a new unified momentum. Furthermore, the group committed to opposing any further militarisation of the conflict.

There is now a path for a Syrian-led transition and a mandate for Kofi Annan to take this forward even if implementation is the biggest challenge. These are steps forward and we will have to collectively ensure that they are followed up. The European Union is committed to doing everything possible to help this process.

Further to the Action Group in Geneva, the Friends of Syria group will meet on Friday in Paris. The High Representative will attend the meeting with an expected number of up to 100 countries. It is our hope that the Friends of Syria meeting will endorse the outcome of the Action Group to ensure a unified response by the international community.

The challenge is now to implement the agreed principles and guidelines for transition. Key issues to be addressed include the appointment of an effective and empowered interlocutor by the Syrian Government which is also acceptable to the opposition. Many components of the opposition have been quick to reject this very notion that, without a partner to negotiate with, a political solution is difficult to achieve. The effective implementation also requires a coherent and representative opposition.

Yesterday’s opposition meeting in Cairo, organised by the League of Arab States and with European Union participation, was another step in trying to unite the different groups. We must help to bridge the gap between the views of the opposition inside Syria and those outside Syria.

On the initiative of the High Representative/Vice-President Ashton, the European Union continues to meet with representatives of different groups. It has most recently supported and financed opposition seminars in Brussels from the Instrument for Stability, organised by Syrians for Syrians on transition issues. The first seminar, which took place on 24 and 25 June in Brussels, gathered a broad range of opposition figures to discuss issues related to the transition process, including supranational and constitutional principles, democratic principles, economic and social issues and, last but not least, minority rights. These are issues which you, the Members of the European Parliament, have drawn our attention to on several occasions. The message of those present was that Syria is for all Syrians. Inclusiveness and respect for minorities are essential. The second EU funded seminar will take place in Cairo in mid-July.

These opposition seminars aim to contribute to the political process of ensuring a representative opposition. Through this process the European Union continues to facilitate Syrian-led inclusive dialogue actions. In parallel the European Union continues to call for united action by the UN Security Council to add more robust and effective pressure.

The Syrian regime holds great responsibility for the violence perpetrated. Massacres continue while international efforts to solve the crisis are ongoing. This is unacceptable and those responsible for crimes during the current conflict must be held accountable.

The European Union’s response is not limited to diplomacy and political engagement at all levels. The European Union will continue to step up sanctions as long as the repression continues. The sanctions are targeted towards the Syrian regime to deprive it of its sources for repression with minimal impact on the civilian population.

On 25 June foreign ministers agreed on the 16th round of sanctions since May 2011. We must now continue to reach out to partners to ensure effective implementation and hope to increase international pressure in the Friends of Syria meeting.

Whilst bilateral aid is suspended the European Union has stepped up assistance to a number of human rights organisations and activists. On 8 June the European Union approved a EUR 23 million special measure to support both civil society within Syria and Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries in areas affected by an influx of Syrian refugees.

Humanitarian access remains a concern and the European Union continues to monitor the implementation of the agreement between the Syrian Government and the United Nations closely. To date the European Union has allocated over EUR 44.6 million to address humanitarian needs inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.

Finally, the European Union supports the United Nations observation mission with EUR 8.2 million. The funds are used to finance 25 armoured vehicles, logistics and support for placing air ambulance capability if requested. Further initiatives that facilitate Syrian-led and inclusive dialogue that could help lead to a political solution can also be funded.

I can assure you that the European Union will continue to do its utmost to support the Syrian people in their struggle for peace and freedom and to facilitate a peaceful transition process.

 
  
  

VORSITZ: RAINER WIELAND
Vizepräsident

 
  
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  Véronique De Keyser, au nom du groupe S&D. – Monsieur le Président, nous soutenons bien entendu la politique de l'Union européenne menée en particulier par Mme Ashton. Mais aujourd'hui, je cherche ce que nous pouvons encore faire avec les modestes moyens que nous avons à notre disposition. Tout cela, c'est de la "haute politique", nous en avons discuté, vous en discutez dans les cercles les plus élevés, mais nous, que pouvons-nous faire de plus?

Il y a trois semaines, j'ai rencontré M. al Labouani, un opposant historique syrien qui avait été emprisonné il y a cinq ans. Quand il avait quitté l'enceinte du Parlement à l'époque, il était rentré à Damas et il avait été immédiatement emprisonné. Ce n'était d'ailleurs pas la première fois. Dans mon bureau, il y a cinq ans, nous discutions ensemble des conditions dans les prisons de Bachar al-Assad et nous parlions de la tentation du suicide. Il me disait: "C'est atroce!". À la question de savoir s'il avait peur, il m'avait répondu: "Non, je ne me suiciderai pas!" Ce qui m'a fort touchée quand il est revenu, il m'a dit: "Vous voyez, Madame De Keyser, je ne me suis pas suicidé et je vis aujourd'hui la plus belle partie de ma vie. Je ne l'avais jamais imaginé! Quels que soient les massacres aujourd'hui, je n'avais jamais imaginé dans ma vie que je verrais ce jour-ci en Syrie."

Cela veut dire qu'au-delà des massacres, au-delà des horreurs qui se passent – je vais en parler –, il y a un espoir dans la population civile, aujourd'hui, en Syrie, que nous ne pouvons pas décevoir. Ce message m'est allé droit au cœur et je me suis dit: "Que pouvons-nous faire?"

J'ai devant les yeux les rapports de Human Rights Watch, ceux d'Amnesty International, j'ai tout ce qui commence à être recensé sur les crimes contre l'humanité, sur les tortures aujourd'hui en Syrie et je n'ose même pas, Monsieur le Président, vous lire un de ces témoignages car cela dépasse l'entendement.

Ce que je voudrais vous dire, c'est que nous devons préparer l'après-Bachar al-Assad. Nous devons aujourd'hui argumenter, prendre les témoignages. D'ailleurs, je vous demande à vous, et à l'Union européenne, parce que...

(Le Président retire la parole à l'oratrice)

 
  
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  Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, it has been six weeks since the gruesome videos of the Hula massacre found their way to the Internet. Murdered children were considered a ‘tipping-point’ by many but, just like the words ‘never again’, this phrase sounds terribly hollow.

Even as the Assad regime continues its all-out war against the Syrian population, numerous brave Syrians are still willing to pay the highest price when protesting peacefully for freedom and respect for their rights and dignity. Defected military personnel speak of the ‘blessing’ of dying through government forced lethal injection in preference to bleeding to death after torture. We must tell, but more importantly show, the Syrian population we will not forget them. What does responsibility to protect even mean at this point?

Sadly solutions in Syria are not easy. The new action group for Syria identified steps to ensure full implementation of Kofi Annan’s six-point plan and the Security Council resolution must come forward as soon as possible. But let us not be distracted. And in that respect I welcome the restraint in Turkey’s response – despite the clear provocation by Syria in shooting down the fighter jet and killing the air force pilots. My thoughts go out to the families of these two pilots that lost their lives.

We welcome the participation of China and Russia in the action group but regret the cynical choice, thus far, of putting interests before the lives of people. Yet we have to acknowledge that Russia must be a part of the solution to the crisis, however hard that may be.

In the EU, and especially during the Cyprus Presidency, we also bear huge responsibility, and should lead an open and transparent investigation into how a Russian ship carrying weapons could reach Syrian shores after docking in a Cyprus port and being identified by the Cyprus authorities.

This Parliament has urged Catherine Ashton to start a full investigation but so far no real assurances have been given. When unenforced, EU sanctions are merely a paper reality and that does nothing to help the Syrian people.

 
  
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  Hélène Flautre, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, ma collègue Schaake a adressé une question tout à fait pertinente à la présidence du Conseil. Je suis sûre que son représentant va s'attacher à y répondre.

La situation sur le terrain, telle qu'elle a été décrite, atteint des sommets de violence et d'horreur apocalyptiques, à un niveau inégalé – 800 morts la semaine dernière. Le rapport de Human Rights Watch, la torture systématique dans l'un des 27 centres de détention et les témoignages sont tout à fait insoutenables.

Dans le même temps, je crois qu'on observe, depuis un peu plus d'une semaine, de nouvelles initiatives diplomatiques qui, peut-être, préfigurent les éléments de changement nécessaires pour la recherche d'une solution. Je pense que la réunion qui s'est tenue à Genève a quand même amorcé – même si c'est limité, même si c'est insatisfaisant – une proposition de gouvernement transitoire d'union nationale sans, évidemment, Assad et les tortionnaires, mais en prenant en compte une partie de sa formation.

Cela comporte deux avantages. Dans cette situation, ce n'est pas parce qu'on sent qu'une solution est possible que la violence sera moindre sur le terrain. Au contraire! On risque d'assister à une surenchère de violence de la part du régime. De ce point de vue, cette proposition permet à la fois d'encourager les désertions massives observées parmi les soldats de l'armée régulière et doit également permettre d'accueillir, dans cette solution transitoire, des membres du régime Assad et du parti Baas. Dans la situation actuelle, je crois que c'est extrêmement important.

Je souhaite que cette perspective, qui a été encouragée par la réunion de toutes les composantes de l'opposition syrienne, par la Ligue arabe cette semaine, par les rencontres du ministre des affaires étrangères russe avec l'opposition syrienne, marque des changements dans la situation qui ouvrent une lueur d'espoir. Et cette lueur d'espoir, je crois que l'Union européenne doit l'exploiter pleinement, et l'exploiter aussi à Paris à la fin de la semaine, lors de la réunion des Amis du peuple syrien.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, sadly we are only too aware of the atrocities and the human cost of the repression taking place in Syria, and the dreadful impact on the Syrian people.

I want to focus very briefly on the wider implications for regional security. Syria, of course, has long been unapologetically close to the regime in Iran. It has hosted terrorist organisations rejected elsewhere and has promoted terrorism in other countries. Only recently, Hamas shifted its HQ from Damascus. A few months ago the anti-Turkish PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) was welcomed back by Assad, and Syria has long been the logistics base for Hezbollah and other movements with terrorist affiliates.

This is in keeping with Syria’s longstanding opposition to peace with Israel. Under Assad’s regime, Israel’s borders are under constant threat from Syrian and Iranian-sponsored attacks.

Turkey and Israel share a strategic interest in the transparency and stability of Syria, with a view to ensuring that it is no longer a sanctuary for terrorists and other hostile movements, and we should give both countries every possible support in the difficulties they face in dealing with the consequences of Assad’s violence.

 
  
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  Giancarlo Scottà, a nome del gruppo EFD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, come già sentito e come è stato detto, esprimo comunque la preoccupazione per quanto avviene in Siria, devo il conflitto continua, con una crescente perdita di vite umane. Nessuna delle due parti è in grado di prevalere militarmente e l'unica soluzione può essere soltanto quella politica, condivisa da governo e opposizione. L'Europa deve operare in questo senso.

I pericoli da evitare sono il prevalere dell'estremismo islamico o una balcanizzazione del paese per il contrasto tra le diverse componenti etniche e religiose. Auspico una seria e concreta presa di posizione dell'Europa – che come già sentito sta lavorando – e quindi auspico ottimi risultati per far cessare questi morti, civili e militari, e quanto altro.

 
  
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  Elmar Brok, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Lassen Sie mich noch einige wenige Bemerkungen machen. Ich glaube, dass die Arbeit der Außenminister, die sie in der vergangenen Woche geleistet haben, von großer Bedeutung ist, ebenso wie die Schlussfolgerungen des Europäischen Rates dazu. Aber die Konferenz der Freunde Syriens hat gezeigt, wie zerstritten die Opposition ist. Ich glaube, das ist eines der Hauptprobleme.

Wir müssen nicht darüber reden, wie wir Assad beurteilen, dass Assad weg muss und dass die Gewalt, die er gegen sein eigenes Volk ausübt, nicht akzeptabel ist. Aber der entscheidende Punkt ist, dass die Opposition nicht in der Lage ist, sich auf eine gemeinsame rechtsstaatliche und demokratische Position zu einigen, in der religiöse und ethnische Minderheiten eine Rolle haben, denn diese Minderheiten haben nach wie vor Angst, dass es für sie unter einer von Islamisten geführten Regierung schlimmer wird als gegenwärtig. Das ist eines der Kernprobleme, vor denen wir stehen.

Wir müssen sehen, dass ein Punkt, den wir nüchtern beurteilen müssen, ist, welche Rolle die Finanzierung aus Katar und Saudi-Arabien in dieser Frage spielt; diese Länder nutzen offensichtlich die Gelegenheit, um Salafisten und Islamisten zu unterstützen, und dies ist ein großes Problem. Ich möchte allerdings zum Ausdruck bringen, dass ich viel Sympathie für die Arbeit und die Leistung der Türken habe. Die türkische Regierung nimmt viele Lasten auf sich, sie sind unmittelbar betroffen. Und ich glaube, dass es völlig klar ist, dass das Abschießen der Maschine nicht akzeptabel ist, und dass der Partner Türkei – in dieser Frage das NATO-Mitglied Türkei – unsere Solidarität hat.

Aber ich möchte nochmals darauf dringen – und ich weiß, dass der Ratspräsident und die Hohe Vertreterin derselben Auffassung sind –, dass man Assad zu einem Ende bringen muss, aber dass man gleichzeitig eine Lösung finden muss, die nicht zu einer völligen Zerspaltung der Regierung führt und die Lage in der Region nachher noch schwieriger wird. Ich bitte darum, dass wir diese Frage mit großer Aufmerksamkeit weiterbringen, aber das geht nur, wenn die westliche Gemeinschaft zusammenbleibt, aber auch nur, wenn dies gemeinsam mit der Arabischen Liga und anderen Kräften in der Türkei betrieben wird. Die Araber dürfen hier nicht aus der Verantwortung genommen werden, damit eine friedliche und rechtsstaatliche Lösung gefunden wird, in der Minderheiten ihren Platz haben.

 
  
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  Richard Howitt (S&D). - Mr President, I would like to ask the President-in-Office about his statement that those responsible for crimes must be held accountable.

I would ask you, President-in-Office, why you and your fellow foreign ministers dropped the reference to support for a reference to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity committed in Syria from the draft text of the conclusions of the last Foreign Affairs Council, and why you withdrew from tabling the text on Syria at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week? Is it because in reality you do not support such a reference despite the repeated calls by the UN High Commissioner for this to take place?

Like many colleagues in this debate we have read the Human Rights Watch report this week detailing the torture inflicted by the Syrian authorities, including beating by baton and wire, electrocution, burning with battery acid, sexual assault, the pulling of fingernails and mock execution.

Elias, one detainee, described how he had been hung by his wrists for eight days and denied sleep. He said: ‘My brain stopped working. I was imagining things. ... It was excruciating. I screamed that I needed to go to a hospital, but the guards just laughed at me.’

Why do you not support a reference to the International Criminal Court and today will you commit the European Union …

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Νικόλαος Σαλαβράκος (EFD). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, οι εξελίξεις στη Συρία χαρακτηρίζονται από ένταση της βίας και κλιμάκωση των επιθέσεων της κυβέρνησης Άσαντ με βομβαρδισμούς στην πόλη Χομς και Ντούμ. Πολλές ανθρώπινες ζωές, πάνω από 4.000 χιλιάδες, έχουν χαθεί μέσα στους τελευταίους οκτώ μήνες. Ενώ, παράλληλα, ήρθαν στην επιφάνεια φαντάσματα πολιτικών και θρησκευτικών αντιθέσεων και εθνοτικών αντιπαλοτήτων.

Την ίδια ώρα το κλίμα στα σύνορα με την Τουρκία εντείνεται και ανά πάσα στιγμή υπάρχει κίνδυνος στρατιωτικού επεισοδίου, ηθελημένου ή αθέλητου. Όποιος έχει διαβάσει το βιβλίο 'Στρατηγικό βάθος' του Νταβούτογλου αντιλαμβάνεται γιατί η Τουρκία προσφέρει στήριξη στους σύριους αντικαθεστωτικούς ενώ το έδαφός της αποτελεί έδρα πολλών αντικαθεστωτικών ομάδων και δη ασυντόνιστων, όπως επεσήμανε και ο κύριος Υπουργός στην πρωτολογία του.

Οι χριστιανοί στην περιοχή αισθάνονται ανασφαλείς. Στο μέτωπο της διεθνούς διπλωματίας η διαμάχη Ρωσίας - Δύσης παραμένει και η Μόσχα αρνείται να παραστεί στη σύνοδο των φίλων της Συρίας, την επόμενη Παρασκευή. Μια παγκόσμια κρίση ελλοχεύει και παρακαλώ πρέπει να την προσέξουμε.

 
  
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  Χαράλαμπος Αγγουράκης (GUE/NGL). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, καταγγέλλουμε τις αποφάσεις του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου, στις 29 Ιουνίου, για τη Συρία και το Ιράν γιατί σηματοδοτούν κλιμάκωση της ιμπεριαλιστικής επέμβασης της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, των ΗΠΑ και του ΝΑΤΟ στην περιοχή, στο έδαφος σκληρών ανταγωνισμών με τις καπιταλιστικές δυνάμεις της Ρωσίας, της Κίνας και της Ινδίας, και ενισχύει τις απειλές των ΗΠΑ και του ΝΑΤΟ αλλά και της Τουρκίας, του Κατάρ, της Σαουδικής Αραβίας και του Ισραήλ στην περιοχή.

Αυτή τη στιγμή αεροπλανοφόρα των ΗΠΑ συγκεντρώνονται στην περιοχή και αυξάνεται η κινητικότητα στη βάση της Σούδας στην Ελλάδα. Εξετάζεται η επιβολή ζώνης απαγόρευσης πτήσεων με πρόσχημα την ευθύνη για την προστασία των αμάχων το οποίο χρησιμοποιήθηκε και σε άλλες ιμπεριαλιστικές επεμβάσεις. Οι Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες, το ΝΑΤΟ και η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και κράτη της περιοχής επεμβαίνουν στις εσωτερικές υποθέσεις της Συρίας, παραπληροφορούν, εκμεταλλεύονται τη σύγκρουση για να δικαιολογήσουν έναν νέο ιμπεριαλιστικό πόλεμο. Οι εξελίξεις στη Συρία συμπληρώνουν την κατοχή στο Ιράκ, στο Αφγανιστάν και στη Λιβύη.

Καταγγέλλουμε επίσης τις αποφάσεις του ΝΑΤΟ, το οποίο με πρόσχημα τη δήθεν ατλαντική αλληλεγγύη στην Τουρκία, πρωτοστατεί στην ιμπεριαλιστική αρμάδα κατά της Συρίας για στρατηγικό πλήγμα και κατά του Ιράν. Εντείνονται οι κυρώσεις, και η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση απειλεί με ανοικτή στρατιωτική επέμβαση αν δεν περάσουν τα ιμπεριαλιστικά σχέδια για την ανατροπή της συριακής κυβέρνησης.

Από την 1η Ιουλίου, όπως γνωρίζουμε, εφαρμόζονται αποφάσεις για επιβολή εμπάργκο στο πετρέλαιο από το Ιράν, με ολέθριες συνέπειες. Οι εξελίξεις στη Συρία αφορούν τον λαό της Συρίας. Είναι ανάγκη οι λαοί να αντισταθούν στις επεμβάσεις της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και του ΝΑΤΟ και να ανατρέψουν τα ιμπεριαλιστικά σχέδια.

 
  
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  Saïd El Khadraoui (S&D). - Er komt maar geen einde aan de gruwelijkheden in Syrië en de internationale gemeenschap lijkt machteloos toe te kijken.

Ik weet niet of wij de bijeenkomst in Genève vorig weekend als een succes mogen beschouwen. Het streven naar een soort overgangsregering met vertegenwoordigers van het huidige regime en de oppositie lijkt de enige echte oplossing, want het alternatief is natuurlijk een bloedige burgeroorlog. Maar de vrijblijvendheid van de verklaringen daarover is onrustwekkend. Wij moeten een manier vinden om het regime en de oppositie rond de tafel te krijgen.

Ik ben het ook 100% eens met collega Brok wanneer hij zegt dat het natuurlijk een essentiële voorwaarde is voor succes, voor de oppositie om te slagen, dat zij met één stem spreekt, één visie kan beschrijven over de toekomst van Syrië en ook geruststellend kan overkomen bij diegenen die nog twijfelen over hun steun aan het regime.

Dus ik zou willen vragen dat wij de druk blijven opvoeren opdat er echt wordt gesproken.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D). - Situaţia din Siria se degradează, în pofida eforturilor internaţionale pentru o soluţie negociată şi acceptabilă pentru părţile în conflict. Tensiunea riscă să se extindă şi mai mult după doborârea avionului militar turc de către apărarea antiaeriană siriană. Zilnic mor oameni nevinovaţi, victime ale unui adevărat război civil, ale unor masacre inimaginabile, care nu mai au nicio legătură cu dorinţa sirienilor de a trăi în democraţie şi libertate. Oferirea de arme părţilor face lucrurile şi mai periculoase. Nu pot să nu remarc persecutarea membrilor comunităţii creştine, fapt ce duce conflictul la o dimensiune grotescă. Din păcate, poziţia Rusiei şi Chinei rămâne categorică, ei nu acceptă nimic ce ar semăna cu o schimbare de regim politic şi împărtăşesc ceea ce s-a spus aici, ideea că responsabilitatea noastră de a proteja victimele este esenţială.

Apreciez poziţia principială şi fermă a Uniunii Europene, care acţionează coerent pentru găsirea unor soluţii paşnice. Trebuie depuse toate eforturile pentru negocieri directe între putere şi opoziţie, pe fondul unei încetări a ostilităţilor.

 
  
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  Carmen Romero López (S&D). - Señor Presidente, uno de los puntos del plan de Kofi Annan es la retirada del ejército a sus cuarteles. Efectivamente, la línea de desmilitarización del conflicto es la línea que están siguiendo ahora todos los países, con la intención de evitar esta guerra que ya se está produciendo.

Y es cierto que hay que trabajar para que la oposición esté cohesionada. Aquí, en el Parlamento, hemos tenido la presencia de miembros del Consejo Nacional Sirio, a los que hemos transmitido la necesidad de una estrategia unida. Pero es muy importante que las presiones de la Unión Europea en relación con la prohibición de armas y de material militar sean una realidad.

¿Qué seguimiento, señor Ministro, señor representante del Consejo Europeo, se está haciendo de esto? ¿Qué información tiene la Unión Europea del cumplimiento de esta prohibición? ¿Qué arsenal tiene almacenado ahora mismo Bashar el Asad?

Es verdad que los barcos rusos pueden estar transportando armas, porque es difícil la negociación con Rusia. Por eso es muy importante que, aparte de tener la seguridad de que realmente el ejército se irá a sus cuarteles, sepamos también exactamente con qué armas cuenta.

 
  
 

Catch the eye

 
  
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  Bogusław Sonik (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Wszyscy jesteśmy wstrząśnięci tym, co dzieje się w Syrii. Kluczem do rozwiązania czy uniknięcia kolejnych ofiar jest oczywiście działanie pod egidą Rady Bezpieczeństwa ONZ. Dlatego trzeba sobie jasno powiedzieć, że ten impas, który obserwujemy, jest wynikiem blokowania skutecznych działań przez Rosję i Chiny. Wydaje się, że w działaniach Unii Europejskiej należy położyć nacisk na ten aspekt. Nie można zamykać oczu na fakt, że to właśnie Moskwa może wpłynąć na to, aby natychmiast zaprzestano masakry cywilów. Jak dotąd te działania są bezskuteczne. Minister spraw zagranicznych Rosji markuje jakieś działania, odwołuje się do przypadku libijskiego, więc skuteczny może być tylko i wyłącznie międzynarodowy nacisk na Moskwę, aby rozpoczęła konkretne działania w celu zapobieżenia morderstwom w Syrii.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE). - Monsieur le Président, même si nous pouvons avoir, chacune et chacun d'entre nous, des doutes sur la possibilité de régler la question de manière diplomatique ou politique, nous devons évidemment tout faire pour que ce soit le cas, et tout faire pour que l'accord de Genève puisse, je l'espère, s'appliquer.

En même temps, nous devons soutenir l'opposition syrienne, tout faire pour son unité, son union et son rassemblement, agir pour répondre à la crise humanitaire – ce que vous faites –, et faire la lumière, toute la lumière, sur ce qui se passe en Syrie, comme l'a souhaité et demandé avec raison la Haute Commissaire des Nations unies.

Devant le terrible constat des ONG – vous avez tous lu ce rapport intitulé "L'archipel de la torture" –, je pense que nous devons vraiment réfléchir à la manière dont fonctionne le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU. Pour ma part, quand il s'agit de condamner des crimes contre l'humanité, il ne devrait y avoir ni droit de veto, ni blocage, et cela devrait être fait dès la première minute.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, Syrian opposition leaders now claim that 15 000 people have lost their lives in this tragic conflict, which has dragged on for nearly a year and a half now. Recent defections from Assad’s armed forces testify to the regime’s continuing loss of support, even sometimes from the Alawite component.

The Syrian National Council, with its Islamist components and other strictly secular opposition groups, must now show a fully united front against the brutal repression of the Baathist Assad regime, as this would aid in ceasing the conflict, which is fast taking on the characteristics of an all-out civil war. The High Representative of the EU must give her full backing for the agreement reached at Geneva to allow for a transitional national unity government, minus President Assad, which will pave the way for democratic elections.

The Annan Plan may yet prove to be a success. I take this opportunity also to thank Turkey for all its help with the refugees and I send my condolences to the family of the pilot who was lost, shot down by the Syrian air defence system.

This is a tragedy. We must do all we can to bring about the end of that ghastly regime in Damascus.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Richard Howitt (S&D), blue-card question. – I know the honourable gentleman made his statement in all sincerity but can I ask him why the government of our country, led by his party, has not joined the Czechs, the Estonians, the Finns, the Germans, the Irish and the Slovenians, in specifically calling for that reference to the International Criminal Court?

It could be argued that delay creates a space for a negotiated solution. However, it has not: it has created a vacuum for continued and intensified violations. Why has Britain not made that call?

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR), blue-card answer. – Mr Howitt knows full well that I do not speak for the British Government. It is a coalition government and I am not accountable for the actions of the British Foreign Office or the British Prime Minister.

All I can say is that I would be very happy to see President Assad tried before the International Criminal Court, but it may well be an expedient thing to give Assad some ‘wriggle room’ to leave office. If he knows he is about to be tried and arraigned before the ICC he may be tempted to stay in power and cause even further bloodshed.

So I suspect the reason – I have no prior knowledge – is to actually give some possible way out for Assad to leave Damascus and go into exile. I am only guessing though.

 
  
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  Bastiaan Belder (EFD). - Ik zou de Raad, de vertegenwoordigers van de Hoge vertegenwoordiger graag twee dingen willen voorleggen tegen de dramatische achtergrond van de situatie in Syrië. Ik zou graag Europese steun willen vragen voor de vreedzame binnenlandse volksbeweging Musalaha, dat betekent verzoening, verzoening van onderop, interreligieus, interetnisch. Ik hoop dat dit ook de steun krijgt en de aandacht heeft van de EU-delegatie in Damascus. Dat is punt 1.

Punt 2, ik heb bij een vorig debat over Syrië in deze zaal tijdens een plenaire vergadering gevraagd voor Europees oog en hart voor de buitengewoon benarde situatie van Syrische christenen. Als je op het ogenblik leest wat er in Homs gebeurt, waar honderden christenen als ratten in de val zitten, ook eenzelfde aantal soennieten, als je ook leest - en de berichten komen steeds naar mij toe - over kidnappingen tegen exorbitante losgelden en daarna nog moordpartijen in koelen bloede op christenen, dan begrijpt u wel dat wij hier spreken van een werkelijk kritieke en dramatische situatie. Ik hoop dat de Europese Unie daar oog voor heeft, vooral binnenslands in Syrië, en niet te veel alleen de aandacht concentreert op de buitenlandse oppositie.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI). - Herr Präsident! Seit Monaten hören wir die Horrorberichte über Folter, Mord und Totschlag mit dem Ergebnis, dass leider keine Lösung in Aussicht ist. Humanitäre Hilfe ist wichtig und hilfreich, aber leider wird das Problem dadurch auch nicht gelöst. Aber nicht nur das Regime ist das Problem. Radikal-islamische Kräfte haben das Ruder in der offensichtlich zerstrittenen Opposition übernommen, und gesponsert von ultrakonservativen Kräften aus Katar und Saudi-Arabien geht es offensichtlich in diese Richtung. Es ist auch kein Zufall, dass die Opposition sich erst gestern bei den Muslimbrüdern in Ägypten getroffen hat. Ich verstehe die Furcht der Minderheiten, ich verstehe auch die Furcht der 15 % christlicher Bevölkerung in Syrien. Es gilt daher, rasch dem syrischen Volk zu helfen, und ich glaube, dass ein geordneter Übergang ohne eine intensive Einbindung gerade Russlands nicht möglich ist. Ich warne auf alle Fälle, hier mit einer Bomben- und Panzerpolitik die Lösung suchen zu wollen. Das Chaos im Irak und in Libyen ist da geradezu abschreckend.

 
  
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  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). - Mr President, I would like to welcome the outcome of the meeting of the Action Group for Syria and its support for the Kofi Annan peace plan. A disastrous civil war, which will affect the whole region, is not an alternative to diplomacy. I hope that all the members of the Action Group dedicate their efforts to implementing the final communiqué. The fighting parties must stop all violence so that negotiations about the future of the people of Syria can start. The Syrian opposition parties must have a mutual understanding and a sense of responsibility towards the Syrian people in order to be able to start the process of forming a transitional government.

I therefore encourage the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European External Action Service to insist that all Syrian opposition movements, representing the various religious, ethnic and political groups, are invited to the negotiations so that a sustainable regime transition can take place.

 
  
 

(Ende des Catch-the-eye-Verfahrens)

 
  
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  Andreas Mavroyiannis, President-in-Office of the Council, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, many speakers made reference to respect for minorities, in particular religious, and more particularly, Christian minorities. I want to assure you that we support all groups which are working for peace and we are closely watching the situation of each and every one of the several communities that exist in Syria, which of course also means Christian communities.

There is also no doubt that human rights are being violated in Syria.

I think we all know how important the International Criminal Court is, that it is an achievement of the international community and how much we believe in accountability, but it is true that the reference to the International Criminal Court has been made both in Geneva and New York, where discussions on the drafting of a new resolution are ongoing. This question was at the centre of a debate among Member States on the opportunity and the timing of such a reference.

At the moment, as we are all trying to give new momentum to Kofi Annan’s mission and to secure Russia and China’s support for the new action group and its new road map, we have all agreed to avoid at this stage – I underline, at this stage – any controversial issue, but we will certainly have to come back to the issue of the International Criminal Court.

We have listened with great interest to this very important debate – my good friend the Executive Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Pierre Vimont, and I – and we will report back to High Representative/Vice-President Ashton.

We look forward to further discussions on the situation in Syria in the weeks and months to come, as the transition process unfolds. We will keep you updated on EU action in this regard. With your support we hope that the international actions will bear fruit and stop the repression and violence in Syria and allow for a peaceful and democratic transition.

Honourable Members, I would like to thank you for your support, questions and concerns. They all contribute to defining EU policies in response to the Syrian crisis. We invite you to remain engaged so that all our resources and ideas are used to the maximum.

I was asked a question relating to my national capacity as the representative of the Government of Cyprus on the issue of sanctions and the specific issue of the vessel Chariot. I would like to say – and I say this in my national capacity, not on behalf of the High Representative – that Cyprus respects and fully implements the arms embargo in place against Syria and other sanctioned countries. It further stresses the importance of cooperation between Member States for a more effective implementation of the arms embargo and demonstrates its readiness to initiate the relevant discussion in the appropriate fora to determine the best practices.

As far as the case that has arisen with the vessel Chariot is concerned, I should like to point out the following. The port authorities of Cyprus had received reassurances from the captain of the ship and from the ship-owning company that the final destination of the cargo was İskenderun in Turkey and not Syria. We all know what happened afterwards.

Following this event both the port police of Cyprus and the customs authorities issued new circulars reminding all their personnel and all ship-owning companies of the existing restrictive measures and sanctions against third countries, in particular, Syria and Iran, and warning them of legal consequences in case of non-compliance.

The Cyprus port authority has already given instructions to its lawyers to instigate criminal proceedings against the ship-owning company and the captain of the ship Chariot.

The Republic of Cyprus stresses its full commitment to the enforcement of European Union measures and of Security Council sanctions against third countries. We remain vigilant and alert to fully implement the European Union arms embargo in place for Syria and other authoritarian regimes.

In so doing, Cyprus looks forward to the constructive cooperation of our European Union partners by sharing information, knowledge and experience and affirms its readiness to contribute to the collective international efforts of enhancing the non-proliferation of arms in dual-use goods and technologies, as well as promoting peace, security and stability in the wider region.

This becomes all the more important, bearing in mind that Cyprus’s geographic proximity to the current turbulent region of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as our position as a shipping hub, necessitates enhanced surveillance in the efforts to enforce EU restrictive measures and Security Council sanctions.

 
  
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  Der Präsident. − Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Schriftliche Erklärungen (Artikel 149 GO)

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. – The Action Group for Syria is committed to ensuring full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043. However, the key to breakthrough is Russia. The EU should ask Russia to unconditionally halt any arms export to Syria. It is unacceptable in principle that a strategic partner of the EU continues to block any serious action towards a peaceful settlement and continues exporting arms to a regime that has been systematically murdering its own citizens for more than one year.

It is ironic that Russia claims to accept only peaceful international intervention, whereas it uses brutal force in Chechnya and against peaceful manifestations of internal opposition.

May I add a piece of practical advice? The EU could strengthen its position on Syria if it first made Mr Putin honour fully the August 2008 agreement on Georgia by insisting that there will be no further progress in mutual relations until Moscow admits EU observers to the occupied Georgian territories. Instead of timidly begging Mr Putin for almost four years to comply with his own commitments the EU has more than enough power to say: no further progress until you behave according to international law.

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera (EFD), per iscritto. – Con l'accordo di Ginevra anche la Russia accetta la necessità di un compromesso basato su un processo di transizione concordato da governo e ribelli e nel quale opposizione e regime di Assad dovranno condividere il potere. A questo punto è importante favorire l'unità dell'opposizione su una piattaforma politica condivisa almeno in alcuni punti fondamentali. Dobbiamo evitare la balcanizzazione del conflitto e la sua degenerazione in scontro tra etnie o gruppi religiosi.

Il futuro dovrà portare ad una società siriana laica, democratica e tollerante. Purtroppo, invece, le ultime notizie parlano di attacchi alla comunità cristiana, e questo rafforza il timore di possibili persecuzioni da parte di un nuovo regime teocratico e fondamentalista islamico in Siria. L'Europa dovrà impegnarsi a fondo che accada anche in Siria ciò che accade in Egitto con la comunità cristiana copta o in Libia tra i diversi clan.

 
Rättsligt meddelande - Integritetspolicy