BRUSSELS, 17-12-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Following the meeting of the EPP Foreign Ministers Group today on the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, the Co-Chairs of the EPP Foreign Ministers Meeting, Elmar Brok, Chairman of the AFET Committee in the European Parliament, and Sebastian Kurz, Austrian Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, provided the following statement on behalf of the EPP Foreign Ministers on the crisis involving ISIL/Da’esh in Syria and Iraq:
• The situation in Syria and Iraq is dramatic. The escalation of violence and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by ISIL/Da’esh, related terrorist groups and the Assad regime have caused thousands of deaths, while more than 9 million people have been displaced and an estimated 20 million are in need of humanitarian aid.
• Attacks against vulnerable groups, such as women, children and Christian and other religious communities, stress the need for the better protection of civilians. Perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity must be held accountable, including by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
• We welcome and support the efforts of UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in order to achieve a de-escalation of violence on the basis of an inclusive political process.
• We need a strong, proactive and ambitious EU foreign policy with regard to the countries suffering from sectarian violence and civil war, in particular in light of new phenomena like ISIL/Da’esh. The influx of foreign terrorist fighters from Europe into Syria and Iraq and their possible return brings this conflict very close to Europe.
• The European Union needs a comprehensive strategy regarding ISIL/Da’esh that complements UN and counter-ISIL coalition activities and engages with regional partners in order to address terrorism financing, the supply of weapons and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. In the fight against ISIL/Da’esh, the EU must get from the states in the immediate region a more visible and practical containment and their ability to independently take on more operational responsibilities.
• In Europe we must strengthen intercultural dialogue and build a partnership with civil society in order to de-legitimise violent ideology and prevent radicalisation and Jihadi influence.
• In this regard the European Union needs a common approach to cooperate with online social networking services to ban jihadist propaganda from their channels.
Note to editors:
The EPP is the largest and most influential European-level political party of the centre-right, which currently includes 78 member-parties from 39 countries, the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, 12 EU and 7 non-EU heads of state and government, 14 members of the European Commission and the largest Group in the European Parliament
For more information:
Javier Jiménez, EPP Director of Press and Communications, Tel. +32-475480446