Thursday, 14 April 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
33. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide details of all Heads of State outside of the European Union that the European Council has formally called on to step down. [8034/11]
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The European Union maintains diplomatic relations with almost every country in the world. Through engagement with these countries, the EU aims to promote the common values and interests of the Union, to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law and to promote respect for human rights. The European Council, which defines the general political direction and priorities of the EU, has, on occasion, called on a foreign Head of State or Government to step down. Such a call, however, represents just one, limited way of promoting EU values and influencing the process of change within a country. In relation to Libya, the Deputy will be aware of the Government’s view that Colonel Gaddafi and his family should surrender power and leave the political stage in order to allow the Libyan people to peacefully determine their future. This is also the considered view of our EU partners, as clearly expressed by the European Councils on 11 and 25 March, and again by the Foreign Affairs Council on 12 April.
Calling for Colonel Gaddafi to relinquish power does not amount to actively seeking regime change. He has clearly lost all legitimacy to rule and there are no circumstances in which one could envisage the vast majority of the Libyan people being prepared to have him continue as their Head of Government, in light of the violence and repression he has visited upon them. Ultimately, however, it remains for Colonel Gaddafi to draw his own conclusions and recognise that he and his regime have no political future in Libya. Extensive diplomatic and economic restrictive measures have also been imposed by the EU against Libya.
Following the Presidential elections in Cote d’Ivoire last year, Alassane Ouattara was declared the victor but the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to accept the result. While the Foreign Affairs Council did not call on Gbagbo to step down, its conclusions on 31 January stated that it would only consider legitimate those institutions and bodies who placed themselves under the authority of President-elect Ouattara. The EU also imposed restrictive measures on Gbagbo and his allies. Gbagbo was arrested on Monday, 11 April, and is in the custody of the forces of President Ouattara.
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