"Council should do more than "deplore" the manslaughter in Aleppo, it should act", Verhofstadt
During today’s debate in the European Parliament about the upcoming European Council meeting, European Liberal Democrat leader ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt has called on the leaders of EU Government to finally agree on a common strategy to end the manslaughter in Syria and take decisive steps towards a European Defence Union.
Verhofstadt: “Syrian troops are going from door to door in Aleppo, slaughtering women and children. We know other cities will follow. Time is running out. The Council should do more than just "deplore" the manslaughter, it has to act. We have to do everything we can to save the people who are under threat.”
Verhofstadt urged the Council to decide on agreeing on a strategy to:
1) Enforce a ceasefire;
2) Establish free access for humanitarian convoys to eastern Aleppo and other besieged areas;
3) Get all parties involved at the negotiation table to find a political solution.
Verhofstadt urged the Council to agree on sanctions if this cannot be achieved: “We need sanctions against those who block a peaceful solution: Russia, Iran and the Assad regime.”
Our incapacity to make any difference in Syria should be a stimulus for the government leaders to take more ambitious steps towards a European Defence Union: “What is on the table now, is only a first timid step. What we really need is a real European Defence Union that can stabilise our neighbourhood and defend our own territory. Also when the Americans decide not to take their responsibility anymore.”
ALDE’s Vice-President Pavel Telicka urged the Council to halt Turkey’s EU membership talks:
"Erdogan's Turkey is going in the wrong direction and we are very concerned about the crackdown on opponents since the failed coup last summer. If Erdogan continues like that, the Council must halt Turkey’s EU membership talks. We cannot tolerate that a candidate country to accession arrests thousands journalists, politics, opponents, member of the civil society. This is something that is not acceptable and does not correspond to fundamental principles and values of the EU."