Sommaire: 2 March 2012, Brussels - Remarks by European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton after the European Council
The European Council discussed what we call the Arab Spring and of course especially Syria.
We are deeply concerned by the appalling situation in Syria. We discussed the terrible tragedy of the loss of well over 8000 people, many young men, women and children in horrible circumstances. The European Union remains absolutely convinced that we should stick together with the international community and support what the Arab League and United Nations have been doing.
We have huge respect for Kofi Annan and we wish him every possible success in his mission. He is working for the entire international community. He's now seeking to make contacts, and has already been in touch with the regime.
We have a Delegation on the ground who are talking with people and who are there to support the humanitarian effort.
And we are very upset that Valerie Amos was not allowed in, for what was so clearly an important humanitarian mission and so needed by the people of the country.
We also remain determined in our conviction that Assad must stand aside and there needs to be a process which can include all the people of Syria.
We will continue to work with the Arab League, with the United Nations and other partners. I think the work of the European countries on the UN Security Council speaks for itself. They have been pushing hard with colleagues from the United States to try and get a Security Council Resolution that will recognize the reality of what's happening on the ground. Those efforts will continue in New York.
On the broader question of what we call the Arab Spring, I was keen to explain to the European Council about the work we've been doing, especially in Tunisia and Jordan in recent times on the Task Force.
This is an idea to bring together not just the European Institutions' money but also the international financial institutions; the political process in the shape of members of our European Parliament meeting with civil society; and also the business sector, those who can create jobs and support the economy.
So it's all about political reform and economic development.
This is a model we want to be able to roll out in other countries in support of the people. These countries belong to the people. We want to support the transition.