|Call for Stability Pact for the South Caucasus |
Call for Stability Pact for the South Caucasus
The Foreign Affairs Committee has adopted (with one vote against and four abstentions) a draft resolution by Per Gahrton (Greens/EFA, S) on the EU's relations with the South Caucasus under the partnership and cooperation agreements with Armenia, Azerbaidjan and Georgia, which entered into force on July 1999. Source: European Parliament, Press Office (PR AFET 24.1.02), Brussels, Belgium, January 23, 2002.
Noting the continuing political instability in the region, where efforts to settle disputes have failed to eliminate the danger of widespread conflict, as well as the acute humanitarian emergency, the report urges the Council to work as quickly as possible towards a common strategy over the long term in order to prevent violent conflict and establish a framework favourable to security and cooperation in the region. It suggests that this framework could draw inspiration from the Stability Pact for the Balkans. MEPs call on the Commission to prepare differentiated proposals, while adding that the partnership and cooperation agreements with the countries of the South Caucasus should be brought into line with each other in order to create a coordinated approach. In addition, emphasis must be placed on combating the smuggling of arms and drugs, environmental hazards, money laundering and trafficking in human beings.
The committee restates its call for consideration to be given to appointing an EU special envoy to the South Caucasus and maintains that a civilian peace corps, using the Commission's rapid reaction facility, could help build dialogue and mutual confidence between the various ethnic groups.
MEPs call on the EU to encourage and give financial support to efforts at regional cooperation. The international community should become fully involved because of the important de facto role played by external powers as well as the scale of the resources needed. The report nevertheless urges caution as regards the issuing of advice on economic matters, given the sometimes unfortunate economic and social consequences experienced in past cases in Central and Eastern Europe. At the same time, the report reminds the three countries of their obligations, as members of the Council of Europe, in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms and calls on them to take the measures needed to boost their efforts to fight corruption and promote the rule of law, media freedom and the free development of a civil society.
Lastly, the committee backs the aspiration of countries in the region to be part of Europe and to cooperate closely in economic and political areas with European institutions and organisations.