GUE/NGL MEPs challenge Mogherini to end EU arms flows to Syria
With the conflict in Syria raging since 2011 – much of it fuelled by external intervention – GUE/NGL MEPs have challenged the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the European Parliament today to find ways to end the war.
Mogherini told the plenary that the EU is not a direct party to the violence in Syria but GUE/NGL MEP Marisa Matias, chair of the Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries, grilled the EU’s chief diplomat on the steady flow of European arms to militant groups:
“While the EU does not have a direct military role in Syria, it has an indirect role. There must be an end to the supply of arms to terrorist groups coming from European countries.”
“An embargo must be put in place now – this is the minimum requirement. There will only be peace if we end the war, and for peace to happen, we do not need European arms in Syria.”
Matias also scolded Mogherini on the ongoing death toll in the Mediterranean:
“Last week, an audio recording emerged of an incident in which 268 people including 60 children were killed. The recording clearly showed the inaction of the Italian and Maltese authorities while migrants were drowning at sea. Yet, we haven’t heard a word of condemnation from the EU.”
“This is happening when the EU has turned Frontex into a border patrol agency at the expense of humanitarian rescue,” said the Portuguese MEP.
Meanwhile, Greek MEP Sofia Sakorafa urged the EU to listen to the voices and wishes of the Syrian people:
“I find it very difficult to draw conclusions from the EU strategy on Syria. The way in which this crisis has been addressed, the basic framework of the EU's involvement, shows a lack of solidarity and a lack of political will.”
“We need to ensure that a solution to the crisis is decided upon freely by the Syrian people. It would be dangerous for stability if we allow the so-called democrats to impose their Iraq-style economic ideas on Syria. We must give hope to the Syrians still inside the country that they can have a better future than the disastrous situation right now.”
For Cypriot MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou, the focus should be on finding solutions rather than on endless talks:
“I am tired of hearing the descriptions of the torture of the Syrian people and the crimes committed against them when in the past six years, we haven’t been able to find solutions. I urge you, Mogherini, to continue with your efforts to achieve peace in the region.”
“The time will come when all those responsible will be held to account for this huge tragedy including foreign fighters and Syrians fighting over their own national interests,” the MEP warned.
GUE/MGL MEP Miguel Viegas blamed American interventionism for fuelling war in Syria and around the world:
“After having organised, armed, financed and supported terrorist groups that took the civil war to Syria, the US administration – while dragging with it the EU – has decided to show once again that it intends to impose its world domination by the force of arms and through threat of war.”
“It has continued to repeat unproven accusations in relation to the use of chemical weapons without allowing for an impartial investigation that even the Syrian government requested, reminding us of its allegations about weapons of mass destruction to justify an aggression against Iraq and the lies against Libya.”
The Portuguese MEP urged the parliament to condemn this policy of interventionism:
“It is a duty of this parliament to condemn the aggression against Syria and its people and to appeal for peace and a political solution that guarantees the respect for the rights of the Syrian people for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”
GUE/NGL MEPs Jaromír Kohlíček and Lynn Boylan also spoke in this debate. A video of their interventions can be found here.