7 April 2011
BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) -- Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Thursday proposed reconsidering the European Union's (EU) bilateral relations with Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen as the countries continue to oppress their own people.
On Thursday, MEPs passed a resolution and called for a reassessment of bilateral relations with the three countries, the suspension of talks on a future Association Agreement with Syria, expressed concern about the presence of international troops in Bahrain, and called for an investigation into the death of 54 protesters in Yemen.
MEPs said the pending Association Agreement negotiation between the EU and Syria must be suspended until the Syrian authorities carry out "expected tangible democratic reforms."
The resignation of Syria's government on March 29 "will not be enough to satisfy the growing frustrations of the people", they added.
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, said the resolution.
The resolution also underlined that the use of violence by a state against its own people must always have direct consequences, calling on both the EU and national governments to revise bilateral relations with Bahrain and Yemen, and consider imposing asset freezes or travel bans.
The text condemns interference by the authorities of both countries in the provision of medical treatment and denial of access to health facilities for injured protesters.
In addition, Parliament called for independent investigations into attacks on protesters in all three countries.
In the case of Yemen, the United Nations or the International Criminal Court should lead an inquiry into the March 18 attacks, in which 54 people were killed and more than 300 injured, the resolution said.
Furthermore, Parliament expressed deep concern about the extent of poverty and unemployment in Yemen, considering that the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council should grant it specific financial and technical support as soon as President Saleh is ready to make way for a democratically-established government.
During Wednesday's debate, MEPs had called for EU Member States to stop the arms sale to the three countries, complaining of a lack of concrete measures by the External Action Service.