Louis Michel: Mali presidential elections key to "restoring legitimacy"
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, June 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- "Holding presidential elections in Mali on 28 July is the only way to restore legitimacy there' said ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Co-President in Brussels on Monday, at the opening of its 25th session. When the UN mission is deployed in Mali in July, replacing most French troops there, "it should take care to avoid a security vacuum at all costs", he added.
"We cannot allow ourselves the least ambiguity, the least procrastination, on the holding of elections", stressed Mr Michel (ALDE, BE), adding that the presidential elections could be uncoupled from the legislative ones, which "necessitate the prior return of civil servants and basic services".
This week the joint assembly of members of the European Parliament and their counterparts from African, Caribbean and Pacific states are debating current developments in Mali, the Central African Republic, and the Republic of Guinea. They will also debate the future of economic partnership agreements, military coup threats and human resources for health in ACP countries. The Assembly will vote resolutions on Wednesday.
Central African Republic: President Djotodia and Prime Minister Tiangaye must be supported
"The transitional President of state Michel Djotodia and his government led by Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye are determined to re-establish the chain the command and restore security and peace throughout the territory" of the Central African Republic, following the overthrow of President François Bozizé's regime on 24 March, said Mr Michel.
"We have before us a tandem which it is our duty to support, for the good of the country", he stressed.
Military coups d'État
"Defending democracy and fighting military coups require deep institutional changes", said ACP-EU JPA Joyce Laboso (Kenya). "If we are to entrench democracy, we must also address issues of inequality, exclusion and marginalization", she continued, insisting on "democratic means as the only acceptable way for settling political differences".
Violence against women
"When will the international community decide to explore every possible way to put an end to the atrocious ordeal suffered by women victims of unspeakable acts?" asked Mr Michel. Dr Laboso pointed out that "rape is often used as a weapon of war".
"Parliaments play an important role in the sustainable development of all countries" said Sean Barrett, Speaker of the Dáil Eireann (Ireland's lower House), also noting that the Irish Presidency of the Council had found an agreement on the development heading of the EU budget for 2014-2020.
The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly brings together elected representatives from 78 European Union and ACP countries which have signed the Cotonou Agreement, which is the basis for ACP-EU development cooperation.
Co-Presidents Mr Michel and Dr Laboso are to give a press conference on Wednesday at 17.30 in the European Parliament press conference room (ASP 5G2).