DA    DE    EL    EN    ES    FI    FR    IT    NL    PT    SV   
The President of the European Parliament

Press Release : Brussels, 2 April 2001

Commander MASSOUD to visit EP in Strasbourg on 5 April 2001

The President of the European Parliament, Nicole FONTAINE, with the agreement of the Conference of Presidents of the Parliamentary Groups, has invited Commander MASSOUD, the Vice-President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, to visit Strasbourg to speak about the situation in his country at the forthcoming part-session.

The European Parliament has consistently voiced grave disquiet - most recently in its resolution of 15 March - at the repeated, serious assaults on fundamental rights and the dignity of the human person taking place in Afghanistan.

'The main victims', says Mrs FONTAINE, 'of the fanaticism that hides behind and betrays the Islamic religion are Afghan women, who are forbidden to work outside the home, and are subjected to physical and moral violence belonging to a past age; girls are particularly hard hit, since they are excluded from the education system.'

'By destroying the Bamlyan statues of Buddha, the Taliban regime's fanaticism and obscurantism has put it beyond the pale of civilisation as far as the international community is concerned.'

'There must be a return to standards of behaviour which are in keeping with universal human rights, and are worthy of the long centuries of Afghan civilisation. This can only be brought about by relentless international pressure on this shameful and criminal regime, and its main allies, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.'

Commander MASSOUD, who will be making his first visit to Europe, will meet Nicole FONTAINE on Thursday 5 April at 9 a.m., and will then meet the political group representatives who wish to talk to him.

At 12 noon, Nicole FONTAINE and Commander Ahmad Shah MASSOUD will hold a press conference in the European Parliament.

For further information: Jacques NANCY; tel., mobile 00.32.476.96.96.72

Press enquiries: Jacques NANCY, President's Spokesman
TEL : +32- - GSM : +32-476.969.672 - FAX : +32- - E-MAIL :
© European ParliamentResponsible Website : Hélène Lanvert