Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-10-25-Speech-3-203"

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"Mr President, violent conflicts are always man-made, however bestial in nature; they are never unavoidable like natural disasters; the leaders who cause them bear immense responsibility. That is always the case, but especially so in extremely poor countries, where the population suffers twice as much; development grinds to a halt and years of external effort and aid are nullified. And what is it about: gaining or refusing to relinquish power? Accumulating minerals, massacring other ethnic groups, establishing independence or occupying part of the desert? Africa, in particular, is an unusually belligerent part of the world. One in five Africans live in a country which is embroiled in serious conflict and, to make matters worse, the conflicts are increasing, both in number and in intensity. The big question is: why is this? It is the European Union’s political and moral duty to do everything in its power to prevent or stop conflicts in ACP countries. The report by Mr Van Hecke is very close to my heart. We need to be much stricter vis-à-vis irresponsible ACP regimes; criteria for suspending aid must be clear, and sanctions need to be tailored to each country individually. We must target the rulers and not the population, however difficult this is, and our Parliament must be directly involved in the decision to suspend aid. It would be a complete outrage if European development aid were used to fund arms deals. EU Member States which provide weapons to warring parties are partly to blame for the profound human suffering and the obliteration of their own development aid. The Cotonou Convention is right in laying the foundation for further development, participation in world trade and political dialogue, but ACP countries which slip into violence destroy this cooperation and tear the Treaty to shreds."@en1

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