Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Guinea

Delivered in Plenary - 22nd October 2009

Mr President

The story of Guinea-Conakry follows a depressingly familiar African script: a dictatorial ruler; a military coup; one authoritarian regime replaced by another; and most of the people still living in abject poverty. Substantial mineral and oil resources could make Guinea one of Africa’s most prosperous nations. Instead, the wealth fuels conflict and misery, not only in Guinea, but throughout a region that has witnessed appalling bloodshed and chronic instability in the past 20 years.

In the past I have pressed the European Commission to help develop a kind of Kimberley Process for resources other than just diamonds to ensure that the activities of mining companies do not support civil war or ruthless dictators such as Captain Camara in Guinea.

I am therefore especially concerned about the massive deal struck between Guinea and Chinese companies, and I hope that the Commission and Council will express to Beijing our expectations that its business activities there should neither provoke internal strife nor further undermine human rights in Guinea. However, like Mr Kasoulides, I suspect the proposals to rescind the EU fisheries agreement will only serve to punish local communities, not the military junta.