Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-01-16-Speech-4-115"

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"The abuse of power at the expense of the people is the order of the day in Africa. When a president is elected with 97% of the votes, the elections are unsound. The so–called struggle at the ballot box, which resulted in President Obiang holding on to power, was a farce. This is exactly what we would expect from a government that for years has failed to comply with international recommendations to introduce a democratic order. The United Nations and European Union missions to observe the elections were not welcome. The secretary–general of the largest opposition party was arrested. The opposition leaders were subjected to unfair trials in the spring. Not surprisingly, all the other candidates apart from the sitting president withdrew from the elections. Equatorial Guinea is the umpteenth poverty–stricken African country in which someone is clinging on to power, enriching himself, violating human rights and completely ignoring the international community. The European Union must engage vigorously in the political dialogue. Any pledge under the ninth European Development Fund is completely out of the question unless the situation improves dramatically. Even if this situation does improve, in the context of democratisation or capacity building, this regime will claim that this gives them legitimacy. This political abuse cannot be tolerated. The opposition leaders and all other political prisoners must be released immediately. The elections must be declared null and void, and new ones therefore need to be organised. There must be an international investigation into the way the oil companies operate and the president’s role in them. Democratisation is a necessary precondition for effectively counteracting poverty. Poverty in African countries is not only caused by globalisation, restricted access to markets or inadequate aid. Many African countries mess things up themselves. Equatorial Guinea is one of those countries in which development is stagnating because of the abuse of power. Those poor people."@en1

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