European Parliament urges EU to suspend Association Agreement talks with Syria
The EU must reassess its bilateral relations with Syria in light of the violent repression of demonstrators, while talks on a future Association Agreement must be suspended, according to a resolution passed by the European Parliament today.
EU negotiations on the still-pending Association Agreement with Syria must be suspended until the Syrian authorities carry out "expected tangible democratic reforms", say MEPs in the resolution. The resignation of Syria’s government on 29 March "will not be enough to satisfy the growing frustrations of the people", they add. President Bashar al-Assad must put an end to repression of political opposition and human right defenders, lift the state of emergency and undertake genuine political, economic and social reforms, says the resolution.
The use of violence by a state against its own people must always have direct consequences, stresses the resolution, drafted by the EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and ECR groups and passed by a show of hands.
The resolution also called for a reassessment of relations with Bahrain and Yemen.
The vote came the day after Hungarian Foreign Minister Zsolt Németh, speaking on behalf of High Representative Catherine Ashton, addressed the Parliament’s plenary debate on the situation in Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen, describing as unacceptable the brutal retaliation against mass demonstrations in Syria.
Németh criticised President Assad, for failing to include in his 30 March speech, “either a clear reform programme or a schedule for the implementation of the reforms,” adding: “The EU will continue to exercise pressure on Syria, for the immediate implementation of the reforms.” He said the EU expected real reforms, “not merely superficial actions.” (ENPI Info Centre)