Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Common foreign and security policy

Delivered in Plenary - 29th March 2007

Mr President

I welcome Mr Solana’s reference to Africa and Darfur and the lack of human rights in Darfur, but he regrettably missed out on Zimbabwe.

The Arab League in Riyadh, which he visited only yesterday, promised a new initiative on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but it still insists on the right of return of all Palestinian refugees – so nothing new as far as I can see.

On Kosovo, I fear that snatching it away unilaterally from the sovereignty of Serbia – a country still digesting the partition from Montenegro – will create further instability in the region and generate a precedent which Russia will play out to the maximum over the frozen conflicts in the South Caucuses, but even over Crimea. Ukraine is a country that now needs more support and is it not now high time that it be granted by the Council the status of potential candidate, like the Western Balkans?

On the Middle East, I would urge caution over resuming direct aid to the Palestinian New Unity Government before Hamas explicitly accepts the three conditions, including recognising the right of the State of Israel to exist.

I should also like to thank all those in this House – the President of this Parliament in particular – who have shown solidarity with the 15 ambushed British service personnel, who were snatched from Iraqi territorial waters, where they were fully entitled to be under both UN resolutions and the explicit consent of the Iraqi Government.

Iran remains a serious problem as it defies the international community in its determination to acquire nuclear weapons, and will openly dissemble on this issue, as it has done recently over its claim of the exact position of the whereabouts of the British servicemen when they were captured.

Is it not now high time that the EU, with the USA, applied serious economic sanctions against this brutal regime, which publicly executes people for sexual misdemeanours and whose President Ahmadinejad has vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth? Ending the export credit guarantees by Germany would be a very good start.