Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: European Union Demands End to Killing of Protestors in Libya
At their meeting today, the European Union foreign ministers condemned the violence being used against protestors in Libya and supported the efforts of Northern African and Middle Eastern nations to move towards democracy and economic development.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the European Union is calling upon Libya to immediately put an end to using force and repression against the protestors. “The Libyan leaders must stop using violence against and killing protestors. Regrettably, repression by Libyan authorities has already cost 300 people their lives,” said Paet. The Estonian foreign minister said that internet and phone connections must also be restored. “Freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully are fundamental rights of every human being which must be respected and protected,” he added.
Paet noted that resolutions to the problems in Northern African and Middle Eastern nations must be found through extensive political, economic, and social reforms. “Europe has a unique opportunity to support the transition process and democratic reforms in its nearby neighbourhood,” Paet said at the meeting.
The disturbances that started in Tunisia have made their way across the entire Northern African and Middle Eastern region, and in Egypt they became the most extensive and led to the resignation of the country’s long-time president Mubarak. In the past few days the situation has been the most strained in Libya; demonstrations have already taken place in Yemen, Algeria, and Jordan, and during the weekend protests also began in Bahrain, Iran and Iraq. Due to pressure from demonstrators, government reform has taken place in Jordan.
The Estonian foreign minister feels that in supporting the ongoing changes, every country’s unique situation should be taken into account and the need for human rights should be especially emphasised in all processes. “We welcome the European Union’s plan to work out an action plan for the future and contribute more to supporting those nations that are striving towards political and economic reforms. Within the framework of the European Union Neighbourhood Policy, a packet of measures for supporting the transition processes of our southern neighbours is being worked out, and soon we will start giving humanitarian aid and making proposals for development co-operation and investments,” said Paet.
The measures should be focused on strengthening democratic institutions and promoting democratic administrative practice, social justice, and preparations for free and fair elections. Paet stated that Estonia feels that constant communication between the European Union foreign service and the governments of our southern neighbours is of the utmost importance, as is the continued monitoring of the situation. “After the security situation has stabilised, it is the European Union’s job to help strengthen the rule of law,” he said.
The day after tomorrow, 23 February, the European Union External Action Service in Brussels is organising a discussion regarding its future steps in supporting Tunisia and Egypt, the greater goal of which is to promote economic and social development in the region. At the end of March Tunisia is organising an international conference in Carthage on the topic of politically and economically re-shaping the country.
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