|"Arafat Is No Terrorist" Says Javier Solana |
"Arafat Is No Terrorist" Says Javier Solana
Paris, France -- (WEU) 5 December 5, 2001 -- Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and WEU Secretary-General took the view on Wednesday that Yasser Arafat was no terrorist and that it was in everyone’s interest to continue to deal with him.
Javier Solana and President Bühler entering the Iéna Palace in Paris, seat of the Assembly. On the left: M. Blaauw (Netherlands), Vice-President of the Assembly
In his address to the WEU Assembly, Mr Solana said that the international community was experiencing its worst time ever in connection with the Middle East since the Madrid Conference ten years earlier. "Clearly Arafat should put a stop to terrorist action by Palestinian groups" he stated, adding that he, personally, did not regard Yasser Arafat as a terrorist and that it was a mistake to portray him as such. "Any spokesman that replaced him would no doubt be a great deal worse. It is in all of our interests to continue to deal with him". Mr Solana also stated that he would soon be meeting Ariel Sharon and would tell him so personally.
Questioned on the parliamentary dimension of the ESDP, which is central to the concerns of WEU, Mr Solana gave to understand that the matter of the parliamentary scrutiny that would apply to European defence policy was premature for as long as the EU had not been tried and tested in that area. "The EU is not in the business of building a European army. What we are talking about at the moment is crisis management, not developing defence policy, to which no reference is made in the Brussels Treaty. We cannot talk about defence at European level as we do at national level. There are certain areas which fall within the remit of the European Parliament, others within that of the various member states. Defence policy as such is a case in point." The High Representative acknowledged that "grey areas" existed between crisis management and defence policy, which, in his view, needed to be examined on a "case by case" basis.
Lastly, Mr Solana revealed that the forthcoming meetings between NATO and Russia would take place on a new basis – that of a meeting of 20 countries and not 19 + 1 as previously – in order to draw Russia in more closely.