Summary: 21 February 2011, Brussels - Council of the European Union PRESS RELEASE: 3069th Council meeting on Foreign Affairs
President: Catherine ASHTON, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Main results of the Council
The Council had an in-depth discussion on the unfolding situation in the EU's Southern neighbourhood. It expressed its support for the peoples of the South Mediterranean and their legitimate hopes and aspirations for democratic change, social justice and economic development. It expressed the EU's readiness for a new partnership with the countries of the region to support the process towards democracy, rule of law, socio-economic development and strengthened regional stability, on the basis of shared principles, cooperation and local ownership. The Council condemned all acts of violence against peaceful demonstrators. The voices calling for the full respect of political, social and economic rights should be listened to carefully.
In particular, the Council condemned the ongoing repression against demonstrators in Libya and deplored the violence and the death of civilians. It called for an immediate end to the use of force against protesters, and for all parties to show restraint. It also called for freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully to be respected and protected and for the legitimate aspirations and demands of people for reform to be addressed through an open, inclusive, meaningful and national Libyan-led dialogue, that would bring a constructive future for the country and for the people.
The Council welcomed the decision of Bahrain's authorities to open a national dialogue. It urged the Yemeni authorities to reach out to the people through a comprehensive national dialogue.
The Council confirmed its solidarity with the people of Tunisia and the EU's engagement in support of their efforts to establish a stable democracy, based on the rule of law and pluralism, with full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to contribute to socio-economic development and institution-building. It reiterated its commitment to mobilising appropriate means and instruments in this regard.
The Council saluted the courage of the people of Egypt in their peaceful and dignified mobilisation for democratic change. The EU stands ready to support the peaceful and orderly transition to a civilian and democratic government based on the rule of law, with full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms and to substantively support efforts to create an economy which enhances social cohesion and promotes growth. The Council encouraged the transitional leadership in Egypt to set a clear timetable and take steps for constitutional reform, which will pave the way for free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections.
The Council also: