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close this bookThe Courier N 159 - Sept - Oct 1996 - Dossier: Investing in People - Country Reports: Mali ; Western Samoa (EC Courier, 1996, 96 p.)
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View the documentIn brief
View the documentThe institutions at work
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The institutions at work

Common foreign and security policy

Within the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the European Union has recently issued a number of statements, details of which are set out below:

Antipersonnel mines

Declaration of 13 May 1996

At the closure of the Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the European Union recalls that it has, in recent years, redoubled its efforts to combat the severe consequences caused to civilians by the indiscriminate use of land mines, in particular anti-personnel mines.

The KU, which adopted joint action in May 1995 in order to reconfirm its commitment to the objective of an overall strengthening of Protocol 11 of the CCW, considers that the achievements of the Review Conference (such as the extension of the scope of Protocol II; the strengthening of restrictions on the use of mines; the new and immediate prohibitions regarding transfers; the provisions on technological cooperation and assistance; the regular review mechanism, etc), taken together, are significant steps forward, both in terms of the land mines protocol itself and of the development of international humanitarian law.

The KU, however, underlines that the resuits of the Review Conference fall short of its expectations and of some of the goals set out in its joint action. In particular, the EU should have liked an effective and binding verification mechanism and no periods of deferral of compliance, or at least much shorter ones.

The EU is convinced that the conclusion of this Review Conference is only the beginning of a challenging process which requires constant and widespread efforts and persistence in order to fully achieve its basic humanitarian objectives. The EU will continue to seek solutions to the problems caused by antipersonnel land mines and will strive towards the goal of their eventual elimination as stated in UN Resolution 50/70 (O). In the meantime, the Member States of the EU will seek early ratification of the amended Protocol II, as well as of the new Protocol IV on blinding laser weapons, and will take urgent steps to ensure their compliance with all the provisions of these two protocols pending their entry into force.

The EU will also continue to make active efforts with a view to achieving universal adherence to the CCW, since its objectives can only be effectively attained through implementation of its provisions by the widest number of states and parties to conflicts.

Furthermore, the EU recalls its determination to pursue its contribution to the international mine clearance efforts. The EU has already contributed to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund, financing, in particular, projects in Angola and Mozambique as well as in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. In addition, the EU will consider the possibility of conducting specific demining actions and will continue to seek to that effect the contribution of the WEU to the elaboration and implementation of such actions.

The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the EU (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) and the associated countries Cyprus and Malta, as well as the EFTA country members of the EEA, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, align themselves with this statement.

The Great Lakes region and the situation in Burundi

Declaration of 24 June 1996

The EU's objectives and priorities with regard to the Great Lakes region are to secure peace, to consolidate the process of national reconciliation in the countries concerned, to facilitate a return to normal democratic life, in particular by restoring the rule of law, and to encourage economic and social recovery.

Aware as it is of the close links between the various political, economic and humanitarian problems in the region and of the serious risk of destabilisation which remains, the EU would emphasise the need for a comprehensive approach and a regional dimension in the search for lasting solutions to the crisis.

It considers that the presence of over a million and a half refugees in the region constitutes a major factor of destabilisation and that their return to their countries of origin in safety and with dignity is essential if peace is to be restored.

It appeals to the Heads of State who signed the Cairo and Tunis Declarations to comply with the undertakings they gave, so as in particular to stop trafficking in arms and the training of the various militia and armed groups which serve only to increase insecurity in the region. It would point to United Nations Resolution 1053 in this regard and also the measures in the plan of action adopted by the Bujumbura Conference (12 to 17 February 1995) for the prevention of subversive activities in countries of asylum. The EU also emphasises the importance of deploying United Nations observers in airports and at frontiers.

The EU is increasingly concerned at the deteriorating political and human rights situation in Burundi and at the increase in violence. The persistent clashes, spreading over different parts of the country, and the killings and atrocities committed against the civilian population could well involve Burundi in a spiral of permanent conflict.

The EU strongly condemns all recourse to violence, which will never bring about a solution to the country's problems, and appeals to all the factions in the country to begin negotiating a resolution of their differences and to agree on an immediate, general cessation of violence. It supports the initiatives taken by the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity to restore peace, as well as former President Nyerere's current efforts in this area.

It fervently hopes that the talks taking place will result in a national dialogue open to all factions within the country. It also expresses its support for the ongoing efforts made by various bodies and eminent figures such as former Presidents Carter and Toure, and Archbishop Tutu.

The EU would point out that it too has taken initiatives aimed at resolving the crisis and recently appointed a special envoy for the Great Lakes region, Mr Aldo Ajello, to assist the current efforts of the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity and other bodies and individuals, and specifically to lend support to the organisation of a regional conference under the joint aegis of the UN and the OAU to examine and resolve the deep-rooted causes of the crisis.

The EU remains convinced that such a conference must be convened as soon as possible.

The EU reiterates that it is prepared to assist with specific measures to promote peace and reconciliation in Burundi, in particular the organisation of a national dialogue, support for action to promote human rights and the restoring of the rule of law. It is furthermore willing to continue funding the presence of OAU observers and United Nations human rights observers in the country. It is also prepared to help with the economic and social recovery of Burundi as soon as political and security conditions allow rehabilitation programmes to be set up in the country.

Niger: progressive restoration of aid

Declaration of 28 June 1996

The European Union takes note of the fact that the regime in Niger has announced the results of the country's constitutional referendum and has lifted the state of emergency and the ban on political parties.

The EU takes the view that Niger has thus met the conditions set out by the Council on 13 May 1996 for the progressive restoration of cooperation. In the first instance, this will take the form of: -support for the electoral process; -aid for structural adjustment which, at present, needs to be focused exclusively on the most pressing needs in the social sectors.

The Council will continue to follow closely the situation in Niger, in particular as regards the preparation and conduct of the presidential and legislative elections.

Arusha summit on Burundi

Declaration of 5 July 1996

Recalling its declaration of 25 June 1996, the European Union congratulates President Mkapa on the organisation of the Arusha regional summit, which has produced constructive proposals on the conflict in Burundi. It expresses appreciation for the untiring efforts of former President Nyerere and reiterates its support for his peace initiative.

The EU encourages the region's Heads of State and the Organisation of African Unity to commit themselves resolutely to supporting and giving substance to the Arusha recommendations and to contribute to the restoration of security in Burundi.

The EU expects the President and the Prime Minister of Burundi to fulfil the undertakings they gave at the Summit to overcome the crisis in Burundi and, with the help of the countries of the region, to put an end to the violence which is destroying the people of Burundi.

The EU calls on all the political forces of Burundi to seek a political solution and to give a favourable reception to regional initiatives to restore peace to their country. It calls the attention of all the parties to the conflict in Burundi to the fact that it condemns all forms of violence and that it will not recognise a government that has taken power by force of arms. Only peace, a peace consolidated at regional level, can guarantee the security of all and lay the foundations for economic and social development.

The EU is prepared to support the realisation of the Arusha objectives with a view to restoring peace and security in Burundi. It reiterates its readiness to help Burundi in its economic and social recovery when political and security conditions make it possible to begin its rehabilitation.

The EU reiterates the need to convene the Conference on Peace, Security and Stability in the Great Lakes Region under the joint aegis of the United Nations and the OAU.

Burundi: support for the OAU Resolution

Declaration of 15 July 1996

Recalling its previous Declarations and Common Position on Burundi and, in particular, the Declarations of 25 June 1996 and 5 July 1996, the European Union warmly welcomes the Resolution on Burundi adopted by the Organisation of African Unity's Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Yaounde on 8 -10 July 1996.

The Union particularly welcomes the reaffirmation by the OAU of its support for the Mwanza Peace Talks under the facilitation of former President Nyerere and its encouragement to him to continue with his efforts based on and incorporating the principles of sustainable democracy and security for all the people of Burundi and an all-inclusive negotiation process. The Union reiterates its appreciation of the untiring efforts of former President Nyerere and its support for his peace initiative in this context.

The declaration in the Resolution of the OAU's full support for the outcome of the Arusha Summit of 25 June 1996, especially the acceptance of the request by the Government of Burundi for security assistance in order to complement and reinforce the Mwanza peace talks, as well as creating conducive security conditions for all parties to freely participate in the Mwanza process is also welcomed by the Union.

The EU reaffirms its willingness to support the realisation of the Arusha objectives with a view to restoring peace and security in Burundi. It remains ready to help Burundi in its economic and social recovery when political and security conditions make it possible to begin its rehabilitation.