Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-24-Speech-4-167"

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". Syria is a permanently recurring item on our agenda. The European Union is keen to strike up good and intense relations with that country in the framework of the Neighbourhood Policy involving countries around the Mediterranean. The chaos in its neighbour, Iraq, is yet another reason why stability in Syria would be valuable. Syria, however, is a dictatorship that does not tolerate internal opposition. For Christians and Kurds, it is, to say the least, an unpleasant place to be. Although it is not a theocratic state with sympathies towards Muslim fundamentalism, it does consider Iran – which is a theocratic dictatorship – as an ally. In Lebanon, it gives its backing to Lebanese and Palestinian Muslim fundamentalists, as long as they help to build up Syrian influence in its small neighbour. Lebanon is considered – albeit wrongly so – as an area that has been cut off from Syria as a result of European intervention. The conflict with Israel is being carefully nourished, because the tension that this brings with it means that the Syrians could well consider the continued existence of the regime as the lesser of two evils. There is no improvement in sight. Both an aggressive attitude towards Syria and friendly relations with this regime are counterproductive. The only thing that can contribute to long-term improvement is support for Syrian refugees and Syrian opponents in prison and in exile. I would like to finish off by saying that those who have recently become the victims of restrictions on freedom, like Michel Kilo who has been to visit this Parliament before, need our undivided attention."@en1

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