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Procedure : 2012/2026(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0408/2012

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PV 14/01/2013 - 25
CRE 14/01/2013 - 25

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PV 15/01/2013 - 9.6
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Tuesday, 15 January 2013 - Strasbourg
EU strategy for the Horn of Africa

European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2013 on EU Strategy for the Horn of Africa (2012/2026(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 May 2012 on maritime piracy(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2009 on the situation in the Horn of Africa(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2010 on the 2008 Common Foreign and Security Policy Annual Report(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 May 2011 on the 2009 Common Foreign and Security Policy Annual Report(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2012 on the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy(5),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Horn of Africa of 14 November 2011, and, in particular, to the Strategic Framework set out in their annex,

–  having regard to the European Security Strategy and to the paper of 14 March 2008 from the High Representative and the Commission to the European Council entitled ‘Climate change and international security’,

–  having regard to the final report of the European Union Electoral Observation Mission on the Ethiopian elections of 23 May 2010,

–  having regard to the adoption of a constitution for Somalia by 825 members of the National Constituent Assembly on 1 August 2012; having regard to the democratic election on 11 September 2012 of a new Somali president as part of the transition process,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Common Security and Defence Policy of 1 December 2011 and 23 July 2012,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions on the situation in Somalia, in particular resolution 2067 (2012),

–  having regard to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), its strategic concept dated 5 January 2012 on establishing a presence in the four sectors, and to UN Security Council Resolution 2036 (2012) requesting the African Union to ‘increase AMISOM’s numbers from 12 000 to a maximum of 17 731 uniformed personnel, comprising troops and personnel from trained police units’,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolution 1820 (2008), on women, peace and security,

–  having regard to the UN report of 25 January 2011 and the 25 proposals it contains put forward by Jack Lang, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on legal issues related to piracy off the coast of Somalia; having regard to the follow-up reports by Jack Lang, including the report on the modalities for the establishment of specialised Somali anti-piracy courts of 15 June 2011, and the report of the Secretary-General on specialised anti-piracy courts in Somalia and other States in the region of 20 January 2012;

–  having regard to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy,

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A7-0408/2012),

A.  whereas the Horn of Africa is one of the most food-insecure regions in the world and millions of people living in the region are undernourished and at risk of famine; whereas this geographical region includes countries which are among those with the lowest health standards in the world; whereas it is also one of the world’s poorest regions and one of those most lacking in governance; whereas human insecurity and food insecurity in particular compound acute humanitarian crises in the region; whereas the international community has failed to take preventive steps to address the issues of human security, drought and famine there;

B.  whereas the region has a long history of conflicts, and whereas there is a relationship between conflict, poverty and underdevelopment; whereas sustainable development cannot be achieved in an environment characterised by tensions, armed conflicts and unstable government institutions, while at the same time poverty and underdevelopment operate as conflict-generating factors; whereas climate change is likely to further exacerbate the situation in the region, where severe droughts have already become more frequent;

C.  whereas prolonged instability in the Horn of Africa leads to consequences for the security of the neighbouring countries and the entire continent and, given the existence of terrorist networking in the region, may come to affect the security of other regions, such as Europe, the Arabian peninsula and South Asia;

D.  whereas the vicious circle of insecurity, instability, poverty and bad governance can only be successfully and effectively addressed through a comprehensive and holistic approach committed to achieving development in the countries of the region in a sustainable form; whereas the Horn of Africa exemplifies the development-security nexus, being a region where criminal activity, especially terrorism and piracy, flourishes as a consequence of extreme poverty and bad governance or absence of state governance;

E.  whereas there is a threefold European and wider international interest in the security situation in the Horn of Africa, relating to: firstly, the threat posed by international terrorism and the funds channelled to terrorist organisations from piracy and kidnappings; secondly, the economic threat to international trade and the need to facilitate the safe passage of shipping; and thirdly, the need to assist the UN in its objectives, for example in protecting World Food Programme vessels in the region;

F.  whereas the EU’s commitment to the region is informed by both its geostrategic importance and the desire to support the people of the Horn and lift them out of poverty; whereas in order to do so and achieve lasting peace, the EU has committed itself to supporting efforts at both regional level - e.g. through IGAD (the Intergovernmental Authority for Development) and the African Union - and national level to consolidate peace and justice on the basis of the principles of inclusion, the rule of law and respect for human rights;

G.  whereas IGAD remains an insufficiently developed instrument for the enhancement of cooperation, integration and security at regional level; whereas there is a need for IGAD to play a central role in the political and security architecture of the Horn of Africa, as well as in conflict prevention and political and economic integration in the region, with a view to committing and anchoring the countries of the region to a common political and economic agenda;

H.  whereas a continuous belt of insecurity and instability stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean would also boost drug-trafficking activities across the southern Atlantic and in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as encouraging trafficking in arms and people, opening up new trafficking routes and creating opportunities to smuggle drugs to both Europe and the Arabian peninsula;

I.  whereas competition among states in the region for natural resources, in particular fossil fuels and water, and competition to provide infrastructural access to ports for oil- and gas- producing states as well as access to the sea for landlocked states could further fuel tensions in the region and lead to chronic instability;

J.  whereas long-term viable stability in the Horn of Africa can only be built on strong and accountable democratic institutions, the rule of law and respect for human rights, in particular freedom of expression, and on better economic prospects for society at large;

K.  whereas it is essential to actively nurture pockets of stability in the region, tackle poverty, and promote economic recovery as a means of restoring failed states; whereas there can be no security without development and no development without security;

L.  whereas Al-Shabaab’s violent insurgency, the lack of state governance in Somalia, the threat posed by continuous piracy activities off the coast of Somalia, the tensions and potential conflicts between Sudan and South Sudan, the conflict-prone regions of Abiyei and Darfur, the political transition in Ethiopia following the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea and Somalia, the tensions between Eritrea and Djibouti, and the terrorist activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) all contribute to making the Horn of Africa one of the most conflict-prone regions in the world, the results being immense human suffering, internal displacement of people, the worsening of humanitarian crises, and the obstruction of sustainable social and economic development as well as of democracy and the rule of law;

M.  whereas as the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia makes incremental advances there is an increasing risk that terrorist activities and destabilisation may move to other parts of Somalia, or further afield in parts of Africa previously not affected

N.  whereas ongoing political instability and conflict in Somalia have virtually destroyed any prospects of sustainable economic development in the region; whereas the lack of stable democratic and economic prospects for the population, particularly the young, together with the absence of democracy, the rule of law, governance or human security, provide fertile ground for encouraging criminal activities, including piracy and drug smuggling, while helping sustain terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab; whereas it is essential to address such issues in a comprehensive fashion building on all the EU’s external action instruments, and to complement any such action through the establishment of specialised Somali anti-piracy courts once viable state structures are in place in Somalia;

O.  whereas the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) has failed to create a stable and inclusive administration capable of promoting consensus among its various ethnic and political components; whereas the new Somali government must receive full support from the international community so that it can take on the challenges facing Somalia and restore sustainable political, democratic, ethnic and social stability;

P.  whereas fishing vessels from many countries have taken advantage of the chaos in Somalia to fish in the Somali 200-nautical mile zone since 1990, undermining the livelihood of Somali fishermen;

Q.  whereas according to the UNHCR there are over one million Somali refugees scattered throughout the Horn of Africa, mainly in Kenya and Ethiopia, and 1,3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) within Somalia; whereas internal conflict, Al-Shaabab terrorism and consecutive drought crises are at the core of the phenomenon of exodus and displacement of people in Somalia, tangibly affecting the whole region;

R.  whereas two events of great significant for the region took place on 20 August 2012: firstly, the death of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, and secondly, the establishment of the first formal parliament in Somalia in more than two decades; whereas the swearing-in of a new Parliament and the election of a new President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, on 10 September 2012 represented a historic moment and an important step towards improving peace and security, demonstrating that the situation in Somalia is not irreversible;

S.  whereas Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda have provided military and political support for the efforts to achieve stability in the region, especially through the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM), thereby working for a viable solution for security and stability in the region which is African-owned and African-led, with the active support of the international community; whereas the African Union is a valuable partner for peace and stability in the region;

T.  whereas the security and military situation in Somalia remains dangerous and unpredictable; whereas AMISOM has been able to push back the Islamist militia Al Shabaab and has deployed 100 soldiers in Baidoa; whereas Kenya has recently intervened militarily in South-Central Somalia, but was unable to decisively defeat Al Shabaab; whereas the Ethiopian National Defence Forces intervened in the Hiraan region and the Bay region in February 2012; whereas human rights abuses, torture, arbitrary detentions and summary executions, as well as unlawful reprisal attacks against civilians committed by Ethiopian forces and militias loyal to the TFG have been reported by Human Rights Watch; whereas neighbouring Eritrea has been accused by the UN Sanctions Monitoring Group of providing weapons, training and financial support to Al Shabaab, thus violating a UN arms embargo;

U.  whereas an end to the crisis in Somalia, while dependent on the stability brought by the African Union operations in the country, can only come about through the preservation of and support for social and political stability, meaning that the parties involved in the military operations will also have a major responsibility in supporting the local authorities with all means necessary for the period following the cessation of military operations;

V.  whereas no international military action can, of itself, establish security, stability and lasting peace unless it is accompanied by a programme for democratic development;

W.  whereas the death of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is likely to have profound national and regional consequences, creating an opportunity for the new leadership to open up the political space, repeal repressive laws and engage in an all- inclusive political dialogue for a democratic transition; whereas to create an inclusive, democratically-elected government in Ethiopia is the only way to prevent the spreading of instability, radicalism and unrest in the country, which threatens Ethiopia’s role in counter-terrorism;

X.  whereas in the parliamentary elections of May 2010 the EPRDF won 545 of the 547 seats contested, prompting the EU Electoral Observation Mission to declare that the elections did not meet international standards;

Y.  whereas Ethiopia receives more foreign aid from the US and the EU than any other country in Africa;

Z.  whereas, after 20 years of independence under the rule of President Isaias Afewerki, Eritrea is one of the most repressive and closed countries in the world, with a tremendously poor human rights record which includes the imprisonment, torture and killing of its citizens; whereas on 5 July 2012 the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution strongly condemning the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights committed by the Eritrean authorities, the severe restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, and the forced conscription of citizens for indefinite periods, also appointing a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea in order to break with the country’s isolation and investigate and report on abuses; whereas the Swedish-Eritrean citizen Dawit Isaak has been kept incommunicado in jail without trial in Eritrea for the last 11 years;

AA.  whereas on 26 September 2012 the Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan signed a long- awaited cooperation agreement, providing for the resumption of oil flows from the south through the north, demilitarisation of the buffer zone along the border, the reopening of crossborder trade and freedom of movement for citizens of both countries; whereas the two countries have yet to agree on the status of Abyei and other disputed areas;

AB.  whereas South Sudan faces serious political, economic and security challenges, especially concerning intercommunal violence and lack of solid governance structures; whereas the ongoing civilian disarmament process known as ‘Operation Restore Peace’ which began in March 2012 in response to the intercommunal violence in Jonglei state has reportedly resulted in abuses perpetrated by army forces against civilians;

AC.  whereas peace remains elusive in Sudan’s western region of Darfur and in the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile; whereas human rights organisations continue to report indiscriminate bombings in civilian areas by government forces, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, mass looting and destruction of property; whereas the ongoing violence has triggered a lasting and worrying humanitarian crisis;

AD.  whereas access to the people remains a major problem in the Horn of Africa countries as far as dealing with the humanitarian emergency there is concerned;

AE.  whereas the Commission is about to raise to EUR 158 million the total amount of humanitarian aid granted this year to the populations that have been victims of the drought in the Horn of Africa countries;

AF.  whereas at the international Pledging Conference held in Addis Ababa the main African Union member states undertook to release almost USD 350 million for the countries affected by the drought;

AG.  whereas the Horn of Africa, and especially Somalia, were hit by a severe famine crisis due to drought which resulted in a serious humanitarian crisis affecting more than 12 million people in the region, including over 7,5 million in Somalia; whereas the famine crisis not only caused the deaths of many people, especially children, but also led to a large-scale refugee flow to neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia; whereas the Commission increased its humanitarian aid allocation from EUR 9 million in 2008 to EUR 46 million in 2009, but then reduced the amount to EUR 35 million in 2010 and EUR 30 million in 2011; whereas it subsequently revised the allocation upwards, to EUR 77 million, but only following the huge drought of summer 2011;

AH.  whereas any significant improvement in the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa will be interconnected with all other aims pursued by the Union in the region, and any sustainable resolution of the different conflicts plaguing the region therefore has to take account of the needs of internally displaced persons and the ongoing refugee crisis and its causes, including structural food insecurity, conflict and climate effects, also paying specific attention to the most vulnerable population groups such as women and children;

AI.  whereas the significant donors and political actors in the region include not only traditional political and development actors such as the EU, the US and international organisations such as the UN and the World Bank, but also Turkey, Egypt, the Gulf Cooperation Council states (in particular Qatar), and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation; whereas China has been playing a key role in promoting infrastructural development and economic capabilities in the Horn of Africa by providing ad hoc soft loans which are not conditional on countries undertaking effective reforms and often act as an inducement for privileged access to natural resources and market access in the country concerned;

AJ.  whereas the EU is the main provider of international support and humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa, and contributes to development and security there, both on land and at sea;

AK.  whereas the establishment of a secure environment for trade and transport is the main path towards stabilisation and development in the region, both on land and at sea;

AL.  whereas the sale of illegal ivory has become one of the most important sources of income for militias such as Al-Shabaab, as well as for official military forces, following an enormous increase in demand from Asian countries; whereas according to CITES, elephant poaching levels are the worst in a decade and recorded ivory seizures are at their highest levels since 1989;

AM.  whereas, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), vast numbers of illegal shipments of toxic waste, the contents of which are leaking, have been dumped along the coast of Somalia, in total disregard of the health of the local population or the conservation of the environment; whereas, according to the same report, the waste dumped at sea partly originates from the EU and is irreversibly damaging human health and the environment in the region, in flagrant violation of human rights;

AN.  whereas all eight Millennium Development Goals are currently off-target in the region, and only a resolute display of political will make it possible to achieve some progress in the three years remaining before the 2015 deadline;

AO.  whereas irrationality and political extremism take root in situations of poverty or famine; whereas, fourteen months after the UN officially announced the existence of the first famine of the 21st century in the Horn of Africa, the humanitarian situation has shown a relative improvement but still remains critical;

AP.  whereas progress on poverty reduction has suffered setbacks in the Horn of Africa owing to the food and fuel crises, as well as the global economic and financial crisis and the impact of climate change;

AQ.  whereas in March 2012 the FAO estimated that more than eight million people were in need of assistance in the Horn of Africa (including 3,2 million in Ethiopia, 2,5 million in Somalia, 2,2 million in Kenya and 180 000 in Djibouti); whereas in 2011 the region suffered its worst drought in 60 years, which affected over 13 million people, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes and killing tens of thousands more;

AR.  whereas the work of the International Criminal Court in the Horn of Africa in bringing perpetrators to justice and fighting impunity is being hampered by certain individual countries in the region;

AS.  whereas in order to continue its humanitarian work and invest in recovery efforts in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, UNICEF needs a total of USD 273 million for 2012, of which, as of the end of July 2012, it had received only 33 %;

General framework

1.  Welcomes the EU strategy for the Horn of Africa, and in particular its comprehensive approach based on tackling the security and stability concerns, enforcing the rule of law and ensuring due process, which must include functioning law enforcement mechanisms and procedures as well as an independent judicial system, whilst addressing the underlying causes thereof, in particular through developmental and humanitarian strategies based on clear objectives; urges the full implementation of the EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa and supports its five prongs based on:

   (i) building democratic, robust and accountable political structures in all countries of the Horn of Africa;
   (ii) working with the countries of the region and with regional and international actors and organisations to resolve conflicts, including through addressing their root causes;
   (iii) ensuring that existing insecurity in the region does not threaten the security of other neighbouring states or other regions or countries;
   (iv) supporting efforts to promote economic growth and reduce poverty;
   (v) supporting political and economic regional cooperation;

stresses the importance of promoting sustainable economic growth in the region and reducing poverty, by responding to the basic needs of people;

2.  Stresses that any sustainable solution to the myriad of conflicts in the region can only succeed if it establishes the principles of good neighbourliness overcoming rivalry and border disputes, non-interference and cooperation among states, sustainable development with and equitable and fair sharing of access to resources, with economic opportunity for all without discrimination; notes that this requires transformative efforts in terms of peace-building, mediation and reconciliation, as well as the end of impunity, in cooperation with the International Criminal Court, and full respect for international humanitarian law including the unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance to the population, as well as for human rights; notes that the Union has a role to play, in close coordination with regional bodies, in assisting these processes, fighting the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and facilitating the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration of former combatants, but stresses that ultimately the people of the Horn of Africa themselves are the only actors who can enable the region to attain durable peace, stability, and prosperity, together with accountable government and the rule of law;

3.  Welcomes the appointment of the European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for the Horn of Africa, as called for by Parliament in its aforementioned resolution of 10 May 2007 on the Horn of Africa; urges the HR/VP and the Commission to actively support the work of the EUSR by ensuring adequate financial and human resources and direct access to CSDP structures and missions, as well as to Commission development and humanitarian aid policy structures and programmes; recalls that in its resolution the European Parliament asked the EUSR for the Horn of Africa to submit regular reports to Parliament; welcomes, in this regard, the EUSR’s regular reports to Parliament, and invites him to continue the dialogue and exchanges of views with its Members on a regular basis; also welcomes the appointment of a EUSR for Sudan and South Sudan; believes that with a view to securing full consultation and coordination of action, the two Special Representatives should be consulted on a regular basis by the competent programming services for the financial instruments for the external action of the EU and should provide them with regular political and strategic advice; points out the value of regular dialogue and coordination between the two EUSRs and the heads of the EU delegations in the region;

4.  Takes the view that more resources could be invested in IGAD in order to promote a system of good governance, as well as effective political dialogue and consensus-building mechanisms in and among all its member states; calls on the EU to facilitate this role by further engagement in their process of building their internal capacity; recalls that it will be of the utmost importance to promote a regional institutional framework for dialogue and coordination among the countries of the region, with particular reference to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda as the key regional players, who will need to continue to coordinate efforts and pursue shared objectives; further recalls that IGAD could provide an adequate framework for dialogue and coordination regarding the exploitation of vital natural resources such as water;

5.  Asks the Commission to consider assisting and supporting all the African countries that are involved militarily in the peacekeeping effort in the Horn of Africa countries, particularly in Somalia;

6.  Welcomes the EU’s decision to provide additional support to AMISOM, in order to allow it to fulfil its mandate and reach a total troop strength of 17 731, as authorised by the UN;

7.  Believes that the results secured by AMISOM in its fight against Al-Shabaab, such as regaining control of Kismayo, confirm the strategic importance of supporting the African Union; stresses, therefore, the importance of promoting the AU's process of institution- building, capacity-building and good governance, as well as its response capabilities, including at crisis management and military level; welcomes the establishment of an EU Delegation to the African Union in Addis Ababa;

8.  Calls, as a matter of urgency, for assistance to be granted to the legal and prison systems of those countries that have cooperated with the EU in the transfer of piracy suspects (Kenya, the Seychelles and Mauritius), as well for as support for the Somali authorities to ensure that they have the judicial capacity and legal due processes according to international law, in particular human rights law, enabling them to handle captured pirates and Al-Shabaab militants; underlines the importance, at the same time, of offering captured pirates a process of rehabilitation and social reintegration;

9.  Deplores the fact that, in spite of the EU aid provided to strengthen the rule of law in the region, the existence of transfer agreements between the Union and third countries (Kenya, the Seychelles and Mauritius), and the bilateral agreements between the Seychelles, Puntland and Somaliland on the repatriation of convicted pirates, as well as the various relevant international legal frameworks, numerous pirates and other criminals either have not yet been arrested or have been arrested but then released for lack of firm evidence or political will to prosecute them;

10.  Strongly welcomes the UN report dated 25 January 2011 highlighting 25 proposals made by Jack Lang, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on legal issues related to piracy off the coast of Somalia; also welcomes the relevant follow-up reports by Jack Lang such as the report on the modalities for the establishment of specialised Somali anti-piracy courts of 15 June 2011 and the report of the Secretary-General on specialised anti-piracy courts in Somalia and other states in the region of 20 January 2012; urges the HR/VP, the EUSR and the three HoMs and HoDs to act on the proposals made by Jack Lang as a matter of priority and to develop an strategy for the EU’s contribution to the international approach to criminal justice on the territory of Somalia;

11.  Reiterates its call on the Member States, in cooperation with Europol and INTERPOL, to investigate and trace money flows and confiscate the sums paid in ransom to pirates, since there are indications that this money could be transferred to bank accounts worldwide, including in banks in Europe, and also to identify and dismantle the organised criminal networks that reap the profits of such acts; calls on the Council to facilitate further cooperation between EU NAVFOR on the one hand, and Europol and Interpol on the other;

12.  Urges all countries in the region to collaborate with the ICC, and recalls the binding obligation of those which have signed and ratified the Rome Statute; also welcomes the recent developments in the ICC allowing research and investigations to be conducted in countries that are not party to or have not ratified the Rome Statute;

13.  Calls on the European institutions to remain vigilant and active in response to the political transition under way in Ethiopia and the first steps towards democracy in Somalia;

14.  Considers it desirable to seize the opportunity presented by the opening-up of the succession to the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died on 20 August 2012, the election of the new Somali President, and the approach of the Kenyan legislative elections in 2013, in order to:

   (i) work on promoting respect for constitutional norms, the rule of law, human rights, and gender equality through cooperation and dialogue with the Horn partners;
   (ii) continue work on institutional development, democracy-building and democratisation;
   (iii) monitor the follow-up of the recommendations of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) and provide support for their implementation where relevant,
   (iv) reinforce political dialogue at country and regional level, and continue to raise issues of human rights, including wherever appropriate extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, and the fight against impunity;
   (v) support an independent civil society that is able to express social agendas;

15.  Welcomes the conclusion, at the end of the period stipulated in the AU Peace and Security Council Roadmap as enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2046 (2012) of an agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on oil resources; hopes that this agreement will also finally resolve, at the earliest possible date, the problem of transit arrangements for oil from South Sudan;

Security policy framework

16.  Welcomes the important contribution made by EU-NAVFOR Operation ATALANTA in the effort to fight piracy and improve maritime security off the coast of Somalia; underlines its role in protecting World Food Programme chartered vessels delivering aid to Somalia and other vulnerable vessels, as well as supplies to AMISOM; welcomes the Council decision of 23 March 2012 prolonging EU-NAVFOR Atalanta to December 2014 and extending its mandate to target the operational bases of pirates onshore; urges the Member States to ensure that EU-NAVFOR ATALANTA is properly supported with adequate surveillance and patrol ships, since the current gains in the fight against piracy are reversible, as well as with the means for the international community to pursue pirates and their financiers and networks, recognising that the most effective counter-piracy measures have in fact been the on-board vessel protection measures introduced by shipping companies; welcomes, in this context, the recent calls from the maritime industry for the regulation of private maritime security companies, and calls on the International Maritime Organisation, flag states and the maritime industry to work together in order to further develop and implement clear, consistent and enforceable internationally agreed standards regarding the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships, and for private maritime security companies to act in strict adherence with those standards;

17.  Notes the importance of cooperation between EU NAVFOR and the other international missions operating in the area, notably the AMISOM land-based operation, and considers that good relations and close cooperation, including information-sharing, are the key towards ensuring a stable Somalia; recalls that EU-NAVFOR ATALANTA and NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield can only successfully deter and contain piracy if a comprehensive strategy is put in place in the Horn of Africa, and particularly in Somalia, to address the reasons that draw Somalis into piracy and criminal activity for income; notes that NATO’s current counter-piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield, has had success with two shorter counter-piracy operations, dating from October 2008, to protect WFP shipping;

18.  Welcomes the decision of 12 December 2011 by the Foreign Affairs Council to establish a regional maritime capacity-building initiative, known as EUCAP Nestor, in order to strengthen the maritime and judicial capabilities and training of coastal police forces and judges, in consultation with and with the consent of the local communities in five countries in the Horn of Africa and the western Indian Ocean; calls on all Member States to staff the new mission without delay with competent civilian and military personnel; calls for close coordination with other initiatives, including the EU’s MARSIC project, under the Critical Maritime Routes Programme sponsored by the Instrument for Stability and the regional Maritime Security Programme (MASE), initiated by the countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region and supported by the EU, and aimed at tackling piracy on land and enhancing judicial capacities to arrest, transfer, detain and prosecute piracy suspects; believes that only by enhancing the coastal security capabilities of the riparian countries, addressing the root causes of piracy on land and encouraging adherence to the BMP4 Best Management Practices for shipping and improved standards for the maritime security industry, will the international community be able to achieve the wider goal of stability and security for the region and therefore reduce the need for naval patrols in the area;

19.  Welcomes the decision of July 2011 to extend and refocus the mandate of the EU Training Mission (EUTM) based in Uganda; nevertheless, calls for better screening and monitoring of the conduct and accountability of all recruits trained by EUTM in order to ensure that minors or individuals affiliated with militant groups are not accepted into the programme, that they are integrated into the Somali armed forces, and that any defections are immediately notified and investigated; also calls on the EU to assume a role in the close monitoring of the payment chain for training forces, so as to ensure that the payments reach their intended beneficiaries and generate motivation, allegiance and commitment, thereby also ensuring that the ability to take ownership remains with the future security forces of Somalia;

20.  Underlines the need for close strategic coordination among all security-related actors, in particular EU-NAVFOR ATALANTA, EUTM Somalia and EUCAP Nestor, as well as NATO (Operation Ocean Shield), the US-led taskforce CTF-151, the UN and AMISOM; notes the existence of international coordination mechanisms such as the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in New York and the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) mechanism in Bahrain; welcomes, therefore, the Council decision of 23 March 2012 to activate, for an initial two-year period, the EU Operations Centre in order to coordinate and increase synergies between the three CSDP missions in the Horn of Africa, as well as the Brussels-based structures, in the context of the Horn of Africa Strategy and in liaison with the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa;

21.  Notes that there are signs that the LRA may be expanding its range, drawing more countries into the fight and putting more children at risk; recalls that the fight against the LRA and the hunt for its leader, Joseph Kony, have been heavily reliant on funding, equipment and logistical support from the US; calls on the EU to coordinate with the US for any additional assistance required in the fight against the LRA, under AU oversight;

22.  Denounces the lack of implementation of the CITES regulations; calls on the Commission and Council to promote the creation of a system of certification and control of ivory imports into the EU, similar to the successful Kimberley process;

Reinforcing the comprehensive approach

23.  Welcomes the EU strategy for the Horn of Africa, encompassing as it does not only security and humanitarian policy but also longer-term development policy and the MDG objectives; underlines the importance of this longer-term vision of development policy, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to coordinate their policies in this respect and to employ joint programming for the various countries and the region as soon as possible;

24.  Believes that a stable and secure Horn of Africa would have positive political and security impacts beyond the region, also in terms of investment and secure shipping routes in the Indian Ocean; takes the view, therefore, that a reflection on strategies to promote security and stability in the region and on coordination to provide the necessary financial resources to implement a comprehensive approach should be started at G-20 level; notes in this regard the positive experience of the Somalia conference held in London in February 2012, and encourages the HR/VP to explore the possibility of a similar conference in 2013;

25.  Believes that the Horn of Africa should also be perceived in terms of having strong economic potential, particularly mineral and agricultural; calls, therefore, on the Council, the Commission, the EEAS and the EIB, in coordination with other multilateral donors and financial institutions, to identify projects of common interest for the countries of the region, which could promote cooperation and positive interdependence, e.g. in the areas of energy supply, including renewable energy, and natural resources, including water; stresses the importance of crossborder trade, access to international markets, port infrastructure and the provision of adequate corridors for access to ports for landlocked countries, as vital elements for the long-term economic development of the Horn of Africa; calls on the Commission to carry out an in-depth analysis of the dimension and impact in economic, environmental and social terms of practices of land-renting to third countries in the Horn of Africa, and to propose possible safeguard strategies and mechanisms;

26.  Takes the view that boosting regional security and combating terrorism and piracy, while essential, must not eclipse the absolute necessity of supporting as a first priority the eradication of poverty in the region, particularly since the EU has an obligation under its founding Treaty to take account of the objectives of development cooperation – foremost among which are the reduction and eradication of poverty – in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries (Article 208(1) TFEU); notes that all the countries of the Horn of Africa are developing countries, and as such – apart from Sudan and South Sudan, which have not signed the Cotonou Agreement – have received EUR 2 billion in development aid (of which EUR 644 million went to Ethiopia alone) for indicative national and regional programmes under the 10th EDF (2008-2013); notes that, over the same period, again under the 10th EDF, the East Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region is receiving EUR 619 million, partly for the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the aim being to eradicate poverty in the countries of the region and help them attain the Millennium Development Goals; recalls, finally, that the African Peace Facility, a sub-instrument of the EDF, gives financial support to AMISOM;

27.  Takes the view that, as the world’s main development aid and humanitarian aid distributor in the region, thanks in part to the centralisation of its diplomatic activity in the EEAS and the EUSR, the success of Operation Atalanta, and the diplomatic and military presence in the region of certain Member States, the EU (the Member States and the Commission) could do more to eradicate the endemic poverty in the region and the pockets of anarchy and lawlessness that exist there;

28.  Considers it desirable to seize the opportunity presented by the election on 10 September 2012 of the new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, with a view to working – helped by the Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa and with the support in the region of the EUSR, as well as that of the EEAS and national diplomats and of the African Union – in favour of the establishment of normal diplomatic and economic relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea and of the resolution of the Somali crisis, since this would benefit the development of the whole region; notes that the Great Lakes region, which borders the western fringes of the Horn of Africa, is also one of the most unstable in the world, including some severely underdeveloped countries that are plagued by armed violence - e.g. the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - and even by wars with one or more of their neighbours - e.g. the tensions between the DRC and Rwanda, which is part of the Horn of Africa in the wider sense; stresses that in implementing the European strategy for the Horn of Africa we cannot ignore its possible repercussions for the much-needed development of the neighbouring regions (notably the Great Lakes region, Central Africa and Southern Africa).

29.  Welcomes, in the interests of both regional development aid and humanitarian aid, the new plan for the Horn of Africa proposed by the Commission in 2012 known as SHARE (Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience), which seeks to be an instrument linking short-term humanitarian aid to long-term development in order to break the vicious circle of crises afflicting the region; fully supports the Commission in this project to strengthen the link between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD); calls for the EU to work through this programme towards the provision of diverse livelihood opportunities and better access to markets and information, so as to boost household incomes for pastoralist, agropastoralist, riverine, coastal, urban and periurban populations, to improve access to basic social services, and to aim to offer reliable and predictable levels of support for chronically and seasonally at-risk populations;

30.  Welcomes the new EU SHARE programme, which aims to increase the resilience of the countries of the Horn of Africa in respect of the various threats they have to face; stresses, however, that this programme should be coordinated with the EU strategy for the Sahel, which has to face the same challenges (terrorism, drugs, climate change, influxes of refugees and displaced persons, etc);

31.  Takes the view that it is important to support agriculture, pastoralism and cattle breeding in the Horn of Africa countries, and welcomes the important work done by various NGOs in these spheres;

32.  Calls on the Commission to support all programmes for access to water as a fundamental right and a common asset of humanity, and to support public and private partnerships for access to drinking water;

33.  Insists that whenever possible assistance by the EU in the Horn of Africa should not take the form of direct budgetary support, but should be granted in order to achieve specific targets on the basis of clear performance indicators; considers that when assistance has to take the form of budgetary support, this should be made conditional on the attainment of specific objectives; believes that programmes directed at supporting the EU Strategy for the Horn of Africa should be able to benefit from the blending of resources, i.e. that funding for such programmes should be open to other international donors on the basis of clear common standards, so as to facilitate a coordinated, uniform approach by all donors and minimum risk of conflicting approaches or duplication; considers that, similarly, the EU should be able to participate in the funding of third-party programmes in the region, provided full respect for the rules on EU financial assistance to third countries can be ensured;

34.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to continue to provide neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations, and to support the countries of the region in strengthening their national capacities through disaster risk reduction strategies and long-term development cooperation programmes in the areas of drought-preparedness, agriculture, rural development and food security;

35.  Stresses that, while the food crisis in the Horn of Africa (as in the Sahel) is attributable to repeated droughts, crop failures and rising prices, other very significant factors, aside from these cyclical elements (although drought can today be considered to be structural), should also be taken into account, such as the breakdown of communities and the headlong rush to promote the export of agricultural products, to the detriment of food sovereignty and of agricultural production for domestic consumption and sale;

36.  Stresses that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms constitutes an invariable element of the foundations of the Union’s engagement with third-country partners; is therefore deeply concerned at the reports of arbitrary arrests, mistreatment of prisoners and violence against demonstrators, as well as repressive measures against political opposition including censorship and the arbitrary detention of journalists and activists that have occurred across the region; calls on all authorities in the Horn to respect these fundamental principles and release all political prisoners unconditionally;

37.  Expresses its deep concern over the ‘land grab’ in Africa, which risks undermining local food security and increases famine; calls on the Horn of Africa governments and the EU to assess the current impact of farmland acquisition on rural poverty and the present famine crisis; urges the Commission to integrate the ’land grab’ issue into its policy dialogue with developing countries, with a view to implementing policy coherence;

38.  Is concerned at the allegations of illegal waste dumping by EU companies and criminal networks; recalls that illegal waste dumping is of major concern to Somalis living along the coastline; calls on the HR/VP and the Commission to commission, as a matter of urgency, a full investigation by an independent body, including the collection of evidence and samples and, depending on the outcome of the research, to consider the possibility of legal action, including compensation claims, on the part of European companies, EU Member States and the EU;

39.  Recognises that it is vital that independent and impartial humanitarian assistance is maintained for all conflict-affected populations in the Horn of Africa and that adequate funding is continued, particularly for Somalia; stresses that any reduction in assistance could see the Somali people slide back into humanitarian crisis; stresses the need, in addition to humanitarian assistance, to build on efforts such as the EU’s Supporting the Horn of Africa’s Resilience (SHARE) initiative, in order to ensure resilience and improve the livelihoods of local people;

40.  Stresses that human rights, especially the rights of women, children, LGBT people and religious minorities, have long been neglected in the region, and notes that sectarian Islamism has spread in parts of the Horn of Africa and is threatening minority freedoms;

41.  Underlines the importance of European support for civil society; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure coordinated support for civil society both within individual countries and at crossborder and regional level;

42.  Stresses the importance of providing continuous assistance to South Sudan for the purposes of creating and sustaining an effective civil society; strongly believes that the new instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights should include ad hoc financing lines for the Horn of Africa; believes that consideration should be given to extending the Endowment for Democracy to countries in the Horn of Africa;

Sudan and South Sudan

43.  Welcomes the agreements reached between Sudan and South Sudan on resuming oil exports and border demilitarisation, and calls on both countries to respect them; calls on each of the two countries to cease harbouring or supporting rebel groups from the other; urges further negotiations on the delimitation of the borders between the two countries, in order to avoid further outbreaks of conflict which would jeopardise the recent agreement, and recommends that both leaders continue talks in order to reach agreement on the status of Abyei and other disputed areas, in line with the AU Roadmap and UN Security Council Resolution 2046 and as soon as possible; congratulates ex-President Mbeki’s High Level Panel, which was part-financed by the EU, on the successes it has achieved, with AU support, in negotiating and mediating between Sudan and South Sudan; calls on the EUSR for Sudan and South Sudan to coordinate with the heads of delegation in Sudan and South Sudan so as to ensure that the EU’s engagement, political efforts and assistance maintain a very high degree of visibility;

44.  Welcomes the memorandums of understanding concluded separately between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), together with the UN, the African Union and the Arab League, with a view to allowing humanitarian aid to get through to civilians in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan;

45.  Is concerned at the resurgence of violence in Jonglei state in South Sudan, which is jeopardising the progress made on re-establishing peace and security in the region; supports the investigation requested by UNMISS, and calls for those responsible for the violence to be punished; calls on the Government of South Sudan to:

   (i) take the necessary steps to strengthen its international and national human rights framework, including by reconfirming its obligations under the international human rights treaties to which Sudan was party at the time of South Sudan’s independence, while withdrawing any reservations to them, and becoming party, without reservations, to other key international human rights treaties;
   (ii) immediately swear in members of the Investigation Committee into the Jonglei State Crisis and provide them with the necessary resources to carry out an independent, full and impartial investigation;
   (iii) immediately impose an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, and commute all death sentences to imprisonment;

stresses the importance of the EU’s continuous assistance to South Sudan with a view to providing capacity-building for the country’s public administration and law enforcement authorities, creating and sustaining an effective civil society and promoting good governance; urges the EU to press for the ratification of key international human rights treaties by South Sudan and assist the country’s authorities in their implementation; condemns the reported abuses against civilians by the military forces in the demilitarisation process, and calls on the South Sudanese Government to conduct an independent investigation into the events in order to hold the soldiers involved accountable and ensure reparations for the victims;

46.  Strongly condemns all acts of violence committed against civilians in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Sudan; urges the EU and the international community to agree on an unified approach to addressing the protection of civilians and ending human rights violations, particularly in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile; calls on the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/North to enter immediately into direct talks with a view to agreeing on a complete cessation of hostilities and reaching a political settlement on the basis of the 28 June 2011 Framework Agreement, as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 2046; stresses the importance of keeping international actors in the conflict zones, and urges the Sudanese authorities to ensure their safety, along with that of civilians; recalls the EU’s and Member States’ responsibilities concerning enhanced support for and cooperation with the International Criminal Court in implementing the arrest warrants taken out against Ahmad Muhammad Harun, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein and President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir;

47.  Is concerned at the deteriorating health situation of the estimated 170 000 Sudanese refugees, more than half of whom are children, in the four camps in Upper Nile state and the camp in Unity state, where the risks of infection, diarrhoea and malaria are sharply increasing, with malnutrition as an aggravating factor;

48.  Condemns any support provided by either Sudan or South Sudan to any armed group other than their respective regular armed forces;


49.  Takes note of the outcome of the 20 August 2012 presidential elections in Somalia; urges all political actors in Somalia to commit to democracy, the rule of law and human rights, as the only way out of the vicious cycle of poverty, underdevelopment and insecurity; stresses that the end of the TFG’s mandate is a key test of the potential of Somalia to move towards a functioning state and of its capacity to rebuild strong, democratic and truly representative institutions; believes it will be crucial to facilitate an inclusive political dialogue in Somalia and promote consensus-building processes to support the new government; calls on the new Federal Government and the new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to work towards reconciliation among the Somali people by building on the Garowe Agreement, in order to establish the new federal state and begin the long but important process of delivering peace, security and democracy for all Somalis;

50.  Welcomes the recent swearing-in of the first formal parliament of Somalia in over 20 years, and hopes this will mark the first step in a transition towards a more representative parliamentary democracy; notes the fact that the 30 % quota for female members of parliament has almost been met, recalling that the meaningful participation of women across all sectors of public life is important for successful efforts of conflict resolution and peace-building;

51.  Welcomes the end of the transition in Somalia as an opportunity for renewal; salutes the work of the roadmap signatories, the traditional elders, the National Constituent Assembly, the new Federal Parliament and the Technical Selection Committee, for their roles in ending the transition period in Somalia; welcomes the commitment of the outgoing President to support and work with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; urges all political actors in Somalia to cooperate with the new authorities; welcomes President Hassan Sheikh’s vision for Somalia and his intention to ensure the formation of inclusive, broad-based governing institutions, stabilisation, the rule of law and good governance, economic recovery, peace-building and reconciliation, public service delivery, and improved relations between Somalia and the rest of the world; urges him to respect his commitment to transparent and accountable governance, to fighting corruption at all levels, and to ensuring inclusive dialogue and setting up representative and accountable institutions at national, regional, district and local levels, in accordance with the Provisional Constitution of Somalia;

52.  Calls on the HR/VP and the EUSR for the Horn of Africa to critically review the Djibouti Peace Process and to consider deploying a team of mediators whose members are trusted by a large spectrum of Somali actors, including women’s associations and have the capacity to bring a wide range of Somali actors to the negotiation table; calls on the HR/VP to initiate a process for Somali civil society actors within and outside the country which would allow for the regular and continued discussion of possible solutions to the political problems in the country; calls on the HR/VP to bring these two processes together, taking as an example the successful peace process of 2000-2005 in Sudan;

53.  Welcomes the recent peace initiative of the Somali government offering civilian jobs and training for defecting Al Shabaab rebels; welcomes the recent endorsement of an ambitious constitution which promises equal rights for ‘all citizens, regardless of sex, religion, social or economic status, political opinion, clan, disability, occupation, birth or dialect’, outlaws female genital mutilation, and establishes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; is concerned, however, that in a country plagued by decades of internecine feuds the new constitution does not address the issue of the division of power and resources between the centre and the regions´, and calls for closer cooperation with the new authorities in order to address these issues;

54.  Calls on the Somali authorities to give priority to institution-building and to establishing, as a matter of urgency, an accountable, transparent and integrative police force, since this will consolidate trust of the population in the new government; commends, in this regard, the valuable contribution that EUTM Somalia is making to the country’s security forces; trusts in Member States’ ongoing support for the work of the CSDP mission, which is striving to instil awareness of respect for human rights, gender dynamics and the rule of law in the Somali military; notes that the development of stable, accountable and inclusive Somali institutions has to go beyond the security forces and be Somali-led and owned if Somalia is to become a viable state;

55.  Stresses that viable and inclusive economic structures and a system of revenue-sharing for future oil and gas exploitation between the regions and the federal level, for the benefit of the whole population, will be essential for the long-term sustainability of Somalia as a functioning federal state; urges the international community not to repeat the mistakes made in the past in concentrating assistance on the federal institutions in Mogadishu at the expense of Somalia’s regions, given that the latter can play a crucial role in the decentralised delivery of basic services and stability to the population; calls on the EU to mobilise all resources during the present ‘window of opportunity’, in order to assist regional entities in Somalia in this vital process of democratic transition; given the latest political and security developments in Somalia, encourages the Member States and the HR/VP, in close cooperation with the legitimate Somali authorities, the African Union and IGAD, as well as the US government, to consider a Security Sector Reform (SSR) mission once the situation on the ground permits;

56.  Recognises that peace in Somalia must be a bottom-up process; stresses that the EU must ensure that its strategy allows for local efforts to build peace and resolve disputes to be sufficiently supported and made a national and regional priority; also recalls that local legitimacy will help the emergence of governing institutions in Somalia that offer long- term prospects for stability;

57.  Recalls that the African Union has deployed AMISOM, a military mission to Somalia, which has been mandated by the UN Security Council and which is desperately seeking to enlist more countries as troop contributors;

58.  Stresses the need for the EU to play, in close cooperation with the US and the African Union, a key role in the future of Somalia;

59.  Urges the international community, in cooperation with the ICRC and the Red Crescent, to implement and develop in Somalia, as soon as possible, health facilities, healthcare centres and therapeutic nutrition centres for outpatients;

60.  Welcomes the establishment of a Local Stability Fund, which aims in particular to coordinate international aid in the newly liberated and accessible areas in the south of Somalia;

61.  Deeply regrets that, since December 2011 alone, 13 journalists and media workers have been killed in government-controlled areas of Somalia and that no progress has been made in the prosecution of these cases; underlines the importance of securing freedom of expression, and urges the new Government and President to adopt measures to provide better protection for journalists and carry out credible investigations into these killings;

62.  Urges the EU and all regional and international partners to take the most of the opportunity created by the emergence of a new government in Somalia which, coupled with the apparent decline of the Al-Shaabab surge in the country, provides for potential to open a new political era in Somalia; stresses, therefore, the need for the international community, and especially the EU, to be ready to provide support to legitimate and democratic authorities in the field of institutional capacity building, SSR and DDR, and to support civil society; urges the HR/VP to make sure that EU action in Somalia fosters a free and open society that respects and upholds human rights, especially the rights of women and minorities, enables the empowering of women and ensures gender balance in all sectors of society;

63.  Underlines the very positive example of Somaliland, which has demonstrated its capacity to develop and consolidate its democratic, economic and administrative structures over more than twenty years and create a sustainable democratic process; notes that Somaliland has so far been very successful in consolidating security and stability on its territory and in cooperating in the fight against piracy and terrorism; expresses concern, however, that should Al-Shabaab regroup in its mountainous border regions, Somaliland may become vulnerable; stresses, therefore, that it is essential to support Somaliland in the fight against terrorism, including such measures as promoting economic diversification and building capacity for youth employment in order to curtail recruitment amongst the young; points out the importance for Somaliland of promoting economic and social development in the region as a way to counter the radicalisation of areas of instability on its territory; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to support Somaliland in enhancing its development prospects and promoting its economic and social stability; stresses that in the quest for a solution for the long-term stability and security of Somalia it is important to evaluate the positive example of Somaliland’s stability;

64.  Welcomes the strong statement of support for the new federal institutions of Somalia made by the HR/VP at the UN General Assembly Mini-Summit on Somalia held in New York and, in particular, her commitment to a four-year process of consolidation of the new federal institutions and regional administrations, as well as to an international conference on Somalia in 2013; calls on Somaliland and the other federal entities to play a full and supportive role in negotiating their legal and political relationship with the new federal institutions in Somalia, with a view to achieving a sustainable, stable and prosperous Somali federal state;

Ethiopia and Eritrea

65.  Points out the key role of Ethiopia for the political and economic stability of the entire region; notes that in his inaugural speech, Hailemariam Desalegn, the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, stressed the importance of strengthening human rights and democratic institutions in the country, in order to help develop a democratic culture and full respect for human rights in the country; believes that the emergence of a new Ethiopian government provides the opportunity to engage Ethiopia on all issues of common interest or concern, including those where there may have been a divergence of opinions in the past, and stresses the importance of supporting Ethiopia in its path to a new democratic system, through positive dialogue and partnership; supports Ethiopia in its fight against terrorism, but stresses that this fight should be pursued in a framework of full respect for fundamental rights;

66.  Hopes that under the leadership of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, appointed on 21 September 2012, Ethiopia will engage in a process of genuine democratic transition in order to realise its strong democratic potential, putting an end to interference with religious freedom and civil society freedoms; calls on the European External Action Service, the EUSR for the Horn of Africa and the EUSR for Human Rights to engage with Ethiopia on human rights as a matter of priority so that it can seize the opportunity of the ongoing political transition to institute a truly democratic transition, built on the centrality of human rights and fundamental freedoms, freedom of the media and full recognition of freedom of expression; urges the EU and the international community to remain vigilant and active in response to the political transition under way in Ethiopia, to promote the strengthening of democratic institutions and to tie political, military and development assistance to concrete democratic reforms, which must include the release of all prisoners of conscience, such as Eskinder Nega and other journalists, human rights and development activists and opposition figures, the admission of the UN special rapporteurs on human rights on a basis of unhindered access to all regions and detention facilities, the repeal or amendment of the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, and the return of opposition politicians in exile; calls on the EU to find innovative and secure ways to assist, financially and politically, the struggling civil society in Ethiopia and engage in close dialogue with the opposition, both in Ethiopia and in exile;

67.  Notes that Ethiopia currently has neither an independent judiciary nor an independent media, as a result of a concerted campaign to undermine and obstruct the judges, control the media, intimidate the opposition and silence human rights organisations;

68.  Points out that numerous journalists have been prosecuted under the anti-terrorism law of 2009; deplores the recent campaign of legal harassment that has culminated in the Federal Supreme Court sentencing blogger Elias Kifle in absentia to life imprisonment, and Wubishet Taye, deputy editor of a local newspaper, and columnist Reeyot Alemn, to 14 years in prison; welcomes, however, the pardon recently granted to the Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson after the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi; urges the new government to extend the same clemency to all victims of arbitrary justice;

69.  Stresses the great potential of the Grand Renaissance Blue Nile Dam project in the Benishangul-Gumuz region in Ethiopia, for the production of clean energy and the economic development of the entire region; supports the international panel of experts established between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt for this project, and calls for a closer understanding for the sharing of water resources from the Nile and of the energy produced by the hydroelectric power plant linked to the dam;

70.  Calls on the Government of Ethiopia to formally endorse the Boundary Commission’s delimitation decisions between Eritrea and Ethiopia as final and binding, in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 1907 (2009) and 2023 (2011), as well as with the relevant AU and IGAD resolutions; calls, therefore, on the Eritrean Government to agree to engage in dialogue with Ethiopia in order to address the process of disengagement of troops from the border and physical demarcation in accordance with the Boundary Commission’s decisions, bearing in mind the importance of keeping communities together, as well as the normalisation of relations with Ethiopia, including the reopening of the border; calls on the international community to engage with Eritrea and defend the interests and needs of the Eritrean people, while pressing the regime and the military to allow access to international organisations, prepare the long-promised elections and open up political space in the country; emphasises that all EU assistance which does not pursue humanitarian objectives should be made strictly conditional on a commitment by the Eritrean authorities to facilitate a democratic transition and the improvement of the human rights situation in the country, with transparent and tangible benchmarks, as well as of the basic needs of the Eritrean people; calls on Eritrea to desist from providing any support for armed groups which undermine peace and reconciliation in Somalia and, more generally, regional stability; calls for freedom of speech, the press and religion, as well as the introduction of free and fair elections and democracy in the country; calls for the immediate release of political prisoners, including the jailed journalist Dawit Isaac, who has been imprisoned without trial for over 4000 days;

o   o

71.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, the EEAS and the Member States, the EU Special Representative for Sudan, the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, the EU Member States, the Government of Turkey, the Congress of the United States, the State Department of the United States, the African Union Commission, the Pan-African Parliament, the Governments and Parliaments of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the authorities of Somaliland.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0203.
(2) OJ C 46 E, 24.2.2010, p. 102.
(3) OJ C 349 E, 22.12.2010, p. 51.
(4) OJ C 377 E, 7.12.2012, p. 35.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0334.

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