EU and US welcome Kurdish peace initiative / STEFAN FULE & ASHTON & SWOBODA

By Roni Alasor / Lorin Sarkisian – Brussels, 21 March 2013 – Ararat News (ANP) – In a joint Statement EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said “We welcome today’s call on the PKK to lay down arms and withdraw beyond Turkey’s borders and the positive reactions to that call”. EU also said that it gives its full support to this process, including financially through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance.

“This is a further important step forward in the on-going process aimed at ending a conflict which has claimed far too many victims. We look forward to concrete follow-up and implementation. The EU has repeatedly encouraged all parties to work unremittingly to bring peace and prosperity for all citizens of Turkey”, concluded Ashton and Fule.

Hannes Swoboda, President of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D),  also welcome Ocalan’s call for a ceasefire. Swoboda said : “We welcome Abdullah Öcalan’s call for peace talks, which gives hope for an end to the 30-year struggle between the Turkish army and the Kurdish rebels. This positive development could and should open the way for a new period of co-operation and peace for all Turkish citizens. Negotiations are the only sustainable solution to avoid a further escalation of violence. The Turkish authorities must now create the conditions for a better relationship with Kurdish citizens, changing their approach and establishing genuine freedom of expression for all in Turkey. All political forces in Turkey must work to build a democratic state which fully respects human rights and freedoms. “It is now the time for peace and democracy for the people of Turkey.”

Swoboda underlined that “A just and lasting settlement of the Kurdish issue in Turkey will also have significant and positive implications for efforts towards bringing stability to the wider region”.