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Conseil/99/344

Brussels, 15 November 199912642/99 (Presse 344)

2217th Council meeting- GENERAL AFFAIRS - Brussels, 15 November 1999

Presidents : Ms Tarja HALONEN

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Mr Kimmo SASI

Minister for Foreign Trade and European Affairs of the Republic of Finland

CONTENTS

PARTICIPANTS 

ITEMS DEBATED

V?EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY PAGEREF _Toc467337152 \h V?COMMON STRATEGIES: UKRAINE, MEDITERRANEAN, WESTERN BALKANS, RUSSIA PAGEREF _Toc467337153 \h V?ENLARGEMENT PAGEREF _Toc467337154 \h VEUROPEAN ARMAMENTS POLICY PAGEREF _Toc467337155 \h VNEGOTIATIONS FOR A DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WITH THE ACP STATES - 9th EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT FUND (EDF) PAGEREF _Toc467337156 \h VNORTHERN CAUCASUS / CHECHNYA- CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc467337157 \h VIPAKISTAN - CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc467337158 \h VIINDONESIA - CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc467337159 \h VIIWESTERN BALKANS - CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc467337160 \h VIIIREVISION OF OBNOVA REGULATION - ESTABLISHMENT OF EUROPEAN RECONSTRUCTION AGENCY PAGEREF _Toc467337161 \h XIBANANAS PAGEREF _Toc467337162 \h XIWTO - MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE IN SEATTLE - CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc467337163 \h XIEARTHQUAKE IN TURKEY PAGEREF _Toc467337164 \h XIANY OTHER BUSINESS PAGEREF _Toc467337165 \h XII?DEATH PENALTY RESOLUTION: EU INITIATIVE PAGEREF _Toc467337166 \h XII?HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN NORTH KOREA PAGEREF _Toc467337167 \h XIIITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE PAGEREF _Toc467337168 \h XIIWESTERN EUROPEAN UNION (WEU) PAGEREF _Toc467337169 \h XII--Authorisation for the appointment of Mr Javier SOLANA as Secretary General of the WEU PAGEREF _Toc467337170 \h XIIEXTERNAL RELATIONS PAGEREF _Toc467337171 \h XII--EU-Turkey PAGEREF _Toc467337172 \h XII--Mozambique - Presidential and Parliamentary elections - 3/4 December 1999 - Council conclusions PAGEREF _Toc467337173 \h XII--Restrictive measures against the Taliban - Council conclusions PAGEREF _Toc467337174 \h XIII--FRY - "Energy for Democracy" initiative PAGEREF _Toc467337175 \h XIII--Cambodia - fight against the spread of small arms PAGEREF _Toc467337176 \h XIII--Democratic Republic of Congo - EU support for peace process PAGEREF _Toc467337177 \h XIV--Termination of International Rubber Agreement PAGEREF _Toc467337178 \h XV--Bulgaria - Association Council PAGEREF _Toc467337179 \h XV--EEA Council PAGEREF _Toc467337180 \h XVBUDGET PAGEREF _Toc467337181 \h XVI--Supplementary and amending budget No 5 for 1999 PAGEREF _Toc467337182 \h XVIAPPOINTMENT PAGEREF _Toc467337183 \h XVI--Committee of the Regions PAGEREF _Toc467337184 \h XVI_________________

For further information call 285 64 23, 285 81 11

PARTICIPANTS

The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:

Belgium :

Mr Louis MICHEL

Mr André FLAHAUT

Mr Pierre CHEVALIER

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

State Secretary for Foreign Trade

Denmark :

Mr Niels HELVEG PERTERSEN

Mr Hans H€?KKERUP

Mr Friis Arne PETERSEN

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

State Secretary for Foreign Affairs

Germany :

Mr Joschka FISCHER

Mr Rudolf SCHARPING

Mr Christoph ZÖPEL

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Federal Chancellor

Federal Minister for Defence

Minister of State, Foreign Affairs

Greece :

Mr George PAPANDREOU

Mr Athanasios TSOCHATZOPOULOS

Mr Christos ROKOFYLLOS

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

Spain :

Mr Rámon de MIGUEL

Mr Eduardo SERRA REXACH

State Secretary for Foreign Policy and the European Union

Minister for Defence

France :
Mr Hubert VEDRINE

Mr Alain RICHARD

Mr Pierre MOSCOVICI

Mr François HUWART

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

Minister attached to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for European Affairs

State Secretary for Foreign Trade

Ireland :
Mr David ANDREWS

Mr Michael SMITH

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

Italy :
Mr Lamberto DINI

Mr Carlo SCOGNAMIGLIO

Mr Antonello CABRAS

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

State Secretary for Foreign Trade

Luxembourg :
Ms Lydie POLFER

Mr Charles GOERENS

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Cooperation, Humanitarian Intervention and Defence

Netherlands :
Mr Jozias VAN AARTSEN

Mr Frank de GRAVE

Mr Dick BENSCHOP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

State Secretary for Foreign Affairs

Austria :
Mr Wolfgang SCHÜSSEL

Mr Werner FASSLABEND

Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs

Federal Minister for Defence

Portugal :
Mr Francisco SEIXAS da COSTA

Mr Júlio CASTRO CALDAS

State Secretary for European Affairs

Minister for Defence

Finland :
Ms Tarja HALONEN

Mr Jan-Erik ENESTAM

Mr Kimmo SASI

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

Minister for Foreign Trade and European Affairs

Sweden :
Ms Anna LINDH

Mr Björn VON SYDOW

Mr Leif PAGROTSKY

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister for Defence

Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for Trade and Nordic Cooperation

United-Kingdom :
Mr Keith VAZ

Mr Geoff HOON

Ms Clare SHORT

Mr Richard CABORN

Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Secretary of State for Defence

Secretary of State for International Development

Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry, Minister for Trade

Commission :
Mr Franz FISCHLER

Mr Pascal LAMY

Mr Poul NIELSON

Mr Chris PATTEN

Mr Günter VERHEUGEN

Member

Member

Member

Member

Member

General Secretariat of the Council :
Mr Javier SOLANA

Secretary General / High Representative for CFSP

_Toc467337151PREPARATION OF THE HELSINKI EUROPEAN COUNCIL

  • EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

    The General Affairs Council, with the participation of Defence Ministers, discussed the follow-up to the Cologne conclusions on strengthening the ESDP, with a view to guiding the Presidency in the preparation of its progress report to the Helsinki European Council. Work covered both military and non-military aspects of crisis management. The Presidency will submit to the European Council two reports which are complementary and mutually reinforcing and which will underline both the ability of the Union to have recourse to the whole range of political, economic, humanitarian and military instruments and its determination to enhance the effectiveness of its instruments.

  • COMMON STRATEGIES: UKRAINE, MEDITERRANEAN, WESTERN BALKANS, RUSSIA

    The Council took note of progress achieved on the draft Common Strategy of the European Union on Ukraine. It urged further work to be conducted in such a way that the Common Strategy could be adopted by the European Council in Helsinki.

    As for the Common Strategies on the Mediterranean Region and Western Balkans, the Council noted that further reflection was needed and asked its competent bodies to pursue actively the work taking into account contributions already made by the ECOFIN Council and specialised committees.

    The Council also took stock of the state of implementation of the Common Strategy on Russia, adopted in Cologne, and asked the Presidency and the Commission, following a request from the German Delegation, to pay particular attention to the field of banking and finance. The Council also asked its competent bodies to analyse the Russian document on a "counter" strategy towards the EU.

  • ENLARGEMENT

    The Council took note of a presentation by the Presidency on the procedure in the preparations of the Helsinki European Council.

EUROPEAN ARMAMENTS POLICY

The Council took note of the work accomplished in the field of European armaments policy. It stressed the importance of cooperation in this field, in the framework of the strengthening of the Common European Policy on Security and Defence, and asked its competent bodies to pursue their work, including the possibility of establishing a common position in the light of future developments in the field of European Defence and Security policy.

NEGOTIATIONS FOR A DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WITH THE ACP STATES - 9th EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT FUND (EDF)

The Council

    - had a first discussion on the volume of the 9th EDF and on the key of distribution between Member States; noted in this context that the Commission calls for maintaining the volume of the EDF in real terms;

    - stressed the importance and urgency - given the tight timetable - of this question for the conclusion of the negotiations for a new partnership agreement with the ACP states at the next Negotiating Ministerial Conference on 7-8 December.

    - invited the Permanent Representatives Committee to pursue its discussions in the light of the Council's deliberations;

    - noted that the Presidency will have further bilateral contacts with Member States with a view to presenting a compromise for a decision to be taken by the GAC on 6 December.

NORTHERN CAUCASUS / CHECHNYA- CONCLUSIONS

The Council expressed its deep concern over the continuing military campaign in the Northern Caucasus. The EU condemned all disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force in Chechnya which has given rise to severe hardship for the civilian population and the internally displaced persons. The Council reminded all parties to the conflict of the necessity to observe international humanitarian law. The Council urged the Russian government to observe its commitments under international humanitarian law to avoid civilian casualities and to keep the Chechen-Ingush border open in order to ensure access to safety for internally displaced persons.

The Council strongly underlined the need to seek a negotiated settlement and repeats its view that a dialogue between the Russian government and the elected leaders of the North Caucasus, including Chechnya, would be an important step towards finding a political solution. The Council holds the Russian government to its word that it is not seeking a military solution in Chechnya which would turn out to be a major political mistake. It calls upon the Russian government to show maximum transparency towards the international community, both in relation to its overall objective in Chechnya and with respect to the situation on the ground - military and humanitarian. The Council encouraged the Russian government to use the good offices of the OSCE. As a first step a branch office of the OSCE assistance group to Chechnya should be immediately opened in Nazran, Ingushetia.

The Council welcomed the needs assessment and fact finding missions of the UN/UNHCR and the OSCE to the region and called on Russia to ensure unhindered delivery of international humanitarian assistance to the growing number of internally displaced persons in Ingushetia without any further delay. It is of utmost importance that the international community should respond without any delay to the forthcoming inter-agency appeal. The EU commits itself to playing its part in the humanitarian effort.

The Council reiterated its position on the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and its resolute condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.

The EU will maintain the closest scrutiny of the evolving situation in the run-up to the Istanbul Summit, which will give the opportunity to discuss this issue.

PAKISTAN - CONCLUSIONS

The European Union remains concerned by the military coup in Pakistan and continues to monitor closely the situation in the country. The Council, recalling the Tampere European Council declaration, reiterated its request for a speedy restoration of democratic civilian rule and urged the interim administration to produce a binding timetable for this, with clear benchmarks against which progress can be judged.

The Council noted the interim administration's professed intention to implement far reaching political and economic reforms including strengthening of democratic structures at the national, provincial and local level, reforming the electoral system, reinforcing good governance and fighting corruption as well as improving the investment climate. The Council believes that all those measures are in the best interest of the Pakistani people.

The Council also noted the interim administration's assurances that it would respect fully the basic human rights and civil liberties, including freedom of the media and the unhindered activities of political parties and expected that such assurances would be respected in full and without conditions.

The Council reiterated its call for the legal rights of Nawaz Sharif and other members of the former government under house arrest to be respected. The Council called on the military authorities to ensure that the charges recently pressed against Mr Sharif and others should be pursued through due process of the law, with a fair and open trial before a civilian court.

The Council also appealed to the authorities in Pakistan to respond to the calls of the European Union and the international community for global non proliferation measures, as spelled out in UNSCR 1172(1998), and, in particular, to sign and ratify the CTBT as soon as possible.

INDONESIA - CONCLUSIONS

The Council reviewed recent events in Indonesia and noted the significant steps that had been taken in its democratic development. The Council especially welcomed the appointment of an inclusive and broadly based Government of national unity. The EU looks forward to working closely with the new Government on a wide range of issues.

The Council welcomed the determination of the new Indonesian Government to revive the economy and to restore confidence by such means as carrying through bank restructuring, dealing with the corporate debt problem and combating corruption. The Council also stressed the vital importance of continued support from and close co-operation with the international financial institutions (IFIs). The Council expressed its confidence that co-operation between the IFIs and the Indonesian Government would prove successful.

The Council affirmed the readiness of the EU to support the efforts of the new Indonesian Government towards economic recovery through an enhanced economic dialogue designed to promote sustained expansion of trade and investment between the EU and Indonesia.

Human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and a well-functioning judiciary as well as good governance are cornerstones in Indonesia's further development. It is also important that reforms in the military and police will continue and their roles in society be adjusted accordingly. The EU stands ready to support Indonesia in its endeavours. In this context, the Council suggested a second joint seminar on human rights and good governance be organised next year.

The Council also expressed its concern at the dire social and environmental consequences of the financial crisis in Indonesia. It suggested that EU-Indonesia co-operation in social and environmental matters be intensified. The Council welcomed indications that the Indonesian Government was considering to bring forward reforms aimed at improving the functioning of the free market and the judicial system. The Council expressed the EU's willingness to organise a beneficial exchange of experiences in these fields.

The Council further stressed the need for the new Government of Indonesia to fully comply with Security Council Resolution 1272, in particular to work with the UNHCR, to take immediate and effective measures to ensure unimpeded access of the UN agencies to East Timorese displaced persons in West Timor and other parts of Indonesia and to cooperate in their safe return to East Timor.

The Council welcomed the Commission's intention to present a Communication on EU-Indonesia relations very soon. The prospective communication would offer the opportunity to define a strategy for the development of closer relations between the EU and Indonesia into the new millennium. It should also review the possibility of refocusing technical assistance and other forms of support as Indonesia proceeds towards further political, social and economic reforms.

The Council agreed to revert to the question of Indonesia at its meeting on 6 December and invited the appropriate bodies of the Council and the Commission to prepare that discussion.

WESTERN BALKANS - CONCLUSIONS

FRY/Serbia

The Council recalled its support for:

    - the aspiration of the people of FRY/Serbia for a democratic FRY, fulfilling its international obligations and reintegrated into the international community, notably the OSCE and the Stability Pact;

    - the democratic opposition and its efforts for its unification and the establishment of a democratic programme;

    - the independence of the media;

    - the opposition's demand regarding the holding of the anticipated general elections, provided that these elections meet international democratic criteria;

    - the maintenance or strengthening of the sanctions targeted at the regime, without penalizing the Serbian people;

The Council also reiterated the EU's readiness to offer reconstruction assistance to a democratic Serbia.

The Council welcomed that the first deliveries of heating oil to Nis and Pirot undertaken in the framework of the Energy for Democracy (EfD) pilot projects will be made well before the end of the month. It called for rapid progress in the further implementation of the projects and reaffirmed its readiness to consider the expansion of the initiative to other municipalities. The Council welcomed the envisaged support of other countries to this programme. The Council reiterated its readiness to continue supporting Serbian people in need and recalled the humanitarian assistance provided by the Community and member States in this context. It welcomed the increase to 62 Meuro of humanitarian assistance provided by ECHO.

The Council reaffirmed the Union's resolve to continue support to independent media in the FRY.

The Council invited the General Secretary of the Council, High Representative for CFSP, to present an evaluation of the situation regarding the Serbian democratic opposition.

The Council will address the issue of sanctions in the light of the considerations in the first paragraph above.

FRY/Montenegro

While recalling the EU declaration of 20 August 1999, the Council stressed its continued support to the democratically elected government of Montenegro. It expressed concern at the lack of progress in the dialogue suggested by the Montenegrin authorities on the redefinition of relations between Serbia and Montenegro. The Union will continue to follow closely the relations between the Belgrade regime and Montenegro. Any efforts to undermine the stability of the area are not acceptable.

The Council also discussed the possibilities of rendering further assistance and financial support to Montenegro. The Council noted that over 40 Meuro had been decided for Montenegro from the Community budget since 1998, in addition to the 15 Meuro in humanitarian assistance, and bilateral assistance by member States. The Union will continue to examine favourably further requests by the Montenegrin authorities. The Council asked the Commission to submit the reconstruction budget plan for Montenegro for the year 2000 as soon as possible, taking full account of the forthcoming results of the fact-finding missions. The Council asked the Commission to submit a proposal, when conditions are right, with a view to extending the Reconstruction Agency's remit to cover Montenegro. The Council also welcomed the expert contacts on financial issues established between the EU and Montenegro.

FRY/Kosovo

The Council discussed the continued threatening security situation in Kosovo and the precarious situation of ethnic minorities in Kosovo and reaffirmed its condemnation of all acts of violence. The Council underlined the urgent need of bringing the perpetrators to justice. While recognising progress made, the Council expressed deep concern about the prevailing climate of violence and impunity in Kosovo, and the widespread discrimination, harassment and intimidation directed against non-Albanians. It welcomed the latest report of the Inter-Agency Ad Hoc Task Force on Minorities and called on all political leaders to actively condemn both violent and non-violent acts directed against minorities. The commitment of the Union in Kosovo is based on the objective of a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo in accordance with the UNSCR 1244. All political forces in Kosovo should establish dialogue. The present practices of harassment and threat to political opponents will not be tolerated.

The Council also stressed the need to provide necessary human and financial resources to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). It called for further contributions by member States to UNMIK and welcomed the intention of the Commission to decide soon on a Community budget contribution. The Council welcomed the response by the Special Representative of the UNSG in Kosovo to the EU initiative to combat organised crime in Kosovo and invited the Commission and the competent bodies to make concrete suggestions, before the next General Affairs Council, for an EU contribution to the short and medium-term measures and the regional assistance programme suggested by the Special Representative of the UNSG in Kosovo.

The Council expressed its condolences and deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the WFP airplane crash.

Danube

The Council confirmed that re-establishing the freedom of navigation on the Danube, a right granted to all States under the Paris Convention of 1921 and the Belgrade Convention of 1948, is of vital importance for the economies of European countries, in particular for those Danube countries which are EU members or applicants. The Council was concerned at the risk of flooding posed by the continued blockage of the riverbed and at the serious environmental and humanitarian consequences this could entail for certain riparian States.

The Council therefore called on all States and organisations concerned to pursue and intensify their efforts to clear the waterway and re-establish the freedom of navigation on the river.

The Council recalled that according to international law the main responsibility in this regard lies with the FRY, and therefore requested the Yugoslav authorities as soon as possible and unconditionally to perform or allow the performance of the clearance operations necessary for the resumption of navigation on the river.

The Council also highlighted the special role of the Danube Commission, which has been charged by its members with coordinating preparations for the operations necessary for the resumption of navigation on the Danube, and with which the Union will continue to cooperate closely.

The Council reaffirmed the Union's willingness to provide the Danube States and the Danube Commission with active support in their efforts to devise and implement a solution. The Council emphasised that the FRY would not be allowed to hold its population nor riparian States hostage to eventual flooding. The Council accordingly confirmed that it was prepared to examine as soon as possible an EU contribution to the clearance of the Danube on the basis of proposals to be put forward by the Danube Commission and an analysis by the Commission as to whether and how such a contribution should be made.

Croatia

The Council emphasised the importance of the forthcoming elections in Croatia. Croatia needs elections which successfully meet accepted European standards. The Council expects that the authorities in Croatia conduct free and fair elections and respect the outcome of the elections. Croatia's international political and economic credibility depends on free and fair elections. The Council regretted that the Croatian government did not take full account of the international community's recommendations concerning the electoral law and the media law.

The Council also emphasised the importance it attaches to Croatia's full co-operation with ICTY and remains concerned about Croatia's unsatisfactory cooperation with ICTY.

The Council regretted the fact that despite the progress made by Croatia, its relations with the European Union have not fulfilled their potential. The actual record of Croatia has fallen short of what is expected from countries in transition. The Council emphasised that the near future should reveal Croatia's readiness to take the steps necessary to enable the European Union dynamically to develop its relations with Croatia. Also with a view to the Stabilisation and Association Process, Croatia can expect active support for transition from the Union if it improves its performance and meets the EU's conditionality criteria.

The Council took note of the report of the Commission on the contacts with Croatian political forces.

Albania

The Council welcomed the fact that the recent change of government in Albania took place according to Constitutional procedures and looks forward to continue cooperating with it. The EU calls on the new government to concentrate on priority areas such as fight against corruption and illegal activities and promotion of full democratisation of the country in view of developing bilateral relations.

Letter from the Commission President

The Council took note of a report on the Santer/Prodi letter concerning the need to avoid additional bureaucracy, the number of EU special envoys and the need to preserve the EU's decision making autonomy. The letter also called for an analysis of the reconstruction effort in Kosovo as well as of the economic and democratic rehabilitation of the Balkans region in order to draw guidelines on the issues of burden-sharing, prioritizing of demands and limiting non-operational expenditure.

     

The Council expressed agreement on the analysis and on the recommendations contained in the letter and underlined the importance it attaches to coherence, co-ordination and visibility of EU actions in the region. It emphasized that the Common Strategy for Western Balkans would constitute the substantive answer to the questions raised in the Santer/Prodi letter. Meanwhile, the EU and its member States would observe the recommendations in their decision-making process against the background of the existing EU acquis.

REVISION OF OBNOVA REGULATION - ESTABLISHMENT OF EUROPEAN RECONSTRUCTION AGENCY

The Council, following the opinion given by the European Parliament, adopted the Regulation modifying Regulation (EC) No 1628/96 on aid to the countries of the former Yugoslavia ("Obnova Regulation"), agreed upon in principle on 19 July 1999.

This new Regulation essentially aims to set up the European Agency for Reconstruction tasked with the implementation of programmes for reconstruction and assistance to returning refugees, initially in Kosovo, and when conditions are right also in other parts of the FRY.

Whilst taking on board some of the amendments proposed by the EP, the Council confirmed that the operational centre of the Agency, with considerable degree of management autonomy, will be established initially in Pristina in order to embark on the reconstruction work in Kosovo using the Agency's general services located at its seat in Thessaloniki. The Agency will continue the work carried out so far by the Commission Task Force in Kosovo.

BANANAS

Recalling its conclusions of July and September 1999, the Council took note of the submission of the Commission's proposals and comments made by Member States concerning the amendment of the banana regime.

The Council took note of the presentation of the proposals and comments made and decided to defer them to the relevant Council bodies for further examination.

WTO - MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE IN SEATTLE - CONCLUSIONS

    1. The Council took note of the report by Commissioner Lamy on the preparations of the Third Ministerial Conference of the WTO and comments made by Member States and expressed its serious concern at the lack of progress made so far in Geneva.

    2. The Council underlined the benefits of a comprehensive trade round which involves a broad range of issues and responds in a balanced manner to the interests of all WTO Members, as well as those of civil society. Furthermore the Council emphasised the need for all WTO Members to be open and to respond to the concerns and interests of other WTO Members, in particular those of the least developed countries.

    3. The Council reiterated its full support to the Commission to continue, on the basis of the conclusions of 26 October 1999, to promote the EU approach of a comprehensive New Round and to contribute actively to the concrete formulation of the elements of the Draft Ministerial Declaration.

EARTHQUAKE IN TURKEY

The Council was saddened that yet again a severe earthquake has struck in Turkey and caused such devastation and loss of human life. The EU extends its condolences to the people of Turkey and will play its full part in providing relief to the victims.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

  • DEATH PENALTY RESOLUTION: EU INITIATIVE

    The Council took stock of the state of play on the EU's initiative at the UN General Assembly (Draft Resolution UNGA 54) on the question of the death penalty. It reiterated the importance of this initiative as part of the EU's overall policy on universal abolition and agreed on the importance of maintaining EU unity in the continuing discussions in New York.

  • HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN NORTH KOREA

    The Council took note of a statement by Germany and a report from the Commission on the humanitarian emergency situation in North Korea.

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

WESTERN EUROPEAN UNION (WEU)

Authorisation for the appointment of Mr Javier SOLANA as Secretary General of the WEU

The Council, taking into account Opinion n° 6/99 of 8 November 1999 of the Political Committee, decided that Mr Javier SOLANA MADARIAGA, Secretary General/High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the Council of the European Union, is authorised to accept the office and perform the duties of Secretary General of the WEU, in addition to his duties as Secretary General/High Representative.

It should be noted that Mr Javier SOLANA is expected to be appointed shortly as Secretary General of the WEU and to take up his duties on 25 November 1999 after expiration of the mandate of the current Secretary General, Mr José CUTILEIRO.

EXTERNAL RELATIONS

EU-Turkey

The Council adopted negotiating guidelines for an EU-Turkey agreement on the liberalisation of services and public procurement.

The liberalisation of trade in services and the mutual opening of public procurement markets are key elements of the European Strategy for Turkey. With the adoption of the negotiation guidelines, the Council stresses its keen interest in developing the relationship with Turkey and its readiness to ensure the effective implementation of the Strategy.

The Council considers that negotiations should start in early 2000.

Mozambique - Presidential and Parliamentary elections - 3/4 December 1999 - Council conclusions

The Council notes the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Mozambique on 3 and 4 December 1999 and reiterates the Union's support for these elections. The Council endorses the nomination of Mr Pertti Paasio, former Foreign Minister of Finland, as Head of the EU observation mission to these elections.

Restrictive measures against the Taliban - Council conclusions

The Council adopted a Common Position imposing the restrictive measures foreseen in the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 (1999) - ban of flights to and from the European Community carried out by aircraft owned, leased or operated by or on behalf of the Taliban and freeze of funds and other financial resources held abroad by the Taliban - following the Taliban's failure to hand over Usama bin Laden in accordance with the terms of the Resolution. The Council urged the Afghan faction known as the Taliban to cease the provision of sanctuary for international terrorists and their organisations and to take urgent steps to ensure that those responsible for terrorist acts are brought to justice. The Council further reiterated the EU's firm condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

FRY - "Energy for Democracy" initiative

The Council adopted a Regulation amending its Regulation prohibiting the sale and supply of oil products to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Reg. (EC) No. 2111/99), in line with its Common Position of 22 October on the EU's support to democratic forces in the FRY.

The new Regulation provides for the exemption of certain municipalities in Serbia from the EU's oil ban, in the framework of the "Energy for Democracy" initiative. At the moment this concerns two municipalities: Nis and Pirot.

Cambodia - fight against the spread of small arms

The Council adopted a Decision concerning the EU's contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons in Cambodia, in the framework of its general Common Position of 17 December 1998 on the fight against the spread of small arms.

This Decision provides that the EU will contribute to promoting the control, collection and destruction of weapons in Cambodia. To this end, a reference amount of 500 000 euro is foreseen to assist the relevant authorities in Cambodia to:

    (a) develop appropriate laws and regulations on the ownership, possession, use, sale and transfer of arms and ammunition,

    (b) develop guidelines for improved record-keeping and security for weapons held by them,

    (c) develop procedures for voluntary surrender of small arms and for identifying and destroying surplus small arms, particularly in connection with planned demobilisation and restructuring of armed forces,

    (d) support civil society programmes to raise public awareness on problems related to small arms and light weapons and further to develop civil society cooperation with the weapons collection and destruction process, in particular by supporting activities by NGOs.

In order to carry out these objectives the Presidency will appoint a Project Manager based in Phnom Penh, performing his tasks under the responsibility of the Presidency and reporting regularly to the Council or its designated bodies through the Presidency assisted by the Secretary General/High Representative for the CFSP.

Democratic Republic of Congo - EU support for peace process

The Council adopted a Common Position on the EU's support for the implementation of the Lusaka ceasefire agreement and the peace process in the DRC:

"Having regard to the Treaty on European Union and in particular Article 15 thereof,

Whereas:

    (1) the European Council in Amsterdam on 16 and 17 June 1997 adopted conclusions regarding the process towards democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo;

    (2) on 9 November 1998, the Council adopted conclusions on the situation in the Great Lakes Region;

    (3) the Council has adopted Common Position 97/356/CFSP concerning conflict prevention and resolution in Africa and Common Position 98/350/CFSP on human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance in Africa;

    (4) the signing of the Lusaka cease-fire agreement was completed on 31 August 1999 by all parties involved, i.e. the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, the "Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo" and the "Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie";

    (5) in accordance with the declarations of the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 9 and 16 July, 3 and 22 September and 11 October 1999, the Union pledged its support to the implementation of the Lusaka agreement provided that the parties respect and implement the agreement in accordance with the terms set out therein;

    (6) the United Nations Security Council has adopted Resolutions 1234(1999) and 1258(1999),

    HAS ADOPTED THIS COMMON POSITION:

Art. 1: The objective of the Common Position is to support through action by the European Union and its Member States the implementation of the Lusaka cease-fire agreement and the process towards peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The European Union affirms that lasting peace in the DRC can be achieved only through a negotiated peace settlement which is fair to all parties, through respect for the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of the DRC and for democratic principles and human rights in all States of the region, and by taking account of the security interest of the DRC and its neighbouring countries.

Once peace is restored the European Union is ready to consider long-term cooperation in support of national reconstruction.

Art. 2: The European Union will support action taken by the United Nations and the Organisation for African Unity in support of the implementation of the Lusaka cease-fire agreement and the peace process, and cooperate closely with them and other relevant actors of the international community in the implementation of this Common Position.

Art. 3: The European Union will support the Joint Military Commission to allow it to fulfil its tasks as specified in its Rules of Procedure.

Art. 4: The European Union will further support a process of reconciliation and democratisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including support for the national dialogue, in accordance with the objectives and arrangements specified in the Lusaka cease-fire agreement.

Art. 5: The Council notes that the Commission intends to direct its action towards achieving the objectives of this Common position, where appropriate, by pertinent Community measures, notably by restoring democratic institutions, in order to ensure respect for human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law. Consideration will also be given to supporting the reintegration of refugees and displaced people and the demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants.

Art. 6: In its cooperation with the countries involved in the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the European Union will promote support for activities which contribute to political stability and the alleviation of economic and social problems which contribute to instability in the Great Lakes region.

Art. 7: The European Union will consider support to the concept and possible preparations of a regional conference on security and cooperation in the Great Lakes region in order to enhance political stability, conflict management and resolution capacities, and economic integration in the region.

Art. 8: The European Union and its Member States reserve the right to modify or cancel any activities in support of the implementation of the Lusaka cease-fire agreement, if the parties do not abide by the terms of the agreement.

Art. 9: The implementation of this Common Position will be monitored regularly.

The Common Position will be reviewed before 8 November 2000.

Art. 10: This Common Position shall take effect on the day of its adoption.

Art. 11: This Common Position shall be published in the Official Journal."

Furthermore, in implementation of this Common Position, the Council also adopted a Decision providing specifically that the EU will contribute towards operational, non-military expenditure to enable the Joint Military Commission to deploy its observers in the DRC during a six month period and fulfil its tasks as specified in its Rules of Procedure. To this end a reference amount of 1 200 000 euro is foreseen. The funds shall be channelled through the Organisation for African Unity and be covered by a separate agreement with the OAU with appropriate provisions for disbursement, accounting and auditing.

Termination of International Rubber Agreement

The Council noted that the 41st session of the International Rubber Council on 27 September-1 October 1999 had agreed by consensus on the termination of the International Rubber Agreement, and was informed of the preparations of the special session of the INRC on 13-17 December 1999 which will discuss the appropriate duration of the period for the liquidation of the entire organisation, the mandate of the "ad hoc group" which will discuss issues of international cooperation in the field of natural rubber, and the position on current projects set up by the INRO Secretariat.

Bulgaria - Association Council

The Council defined the EU's position in view of the 5th Association Council with Bulgaria, to be held on 16 November 1999 (see Press Release UE-BG 1914/99 Presse 355).

EEA Council

The Council defined the position of the EU in preparation of the 12th meeting of the European Economic Area Council held on 15 November 1999 (see Press Release, doc. EEE-1609/99, Presse 356).

BUDGET

Supplementary and amending budget No 5 for 1999

The Council established the supplementary and amending budget No 5 for the financial year 1999, by following all the proposals contained in the Commission's draft. The European Parliament is expected to vote on this budget at the forthcoming plenary session.

The supplementary and amending budget No 5 establishes additional payment appropriations for external action amounting to EUR 202 million, by redeploying funds from the EAGGF Guarantee. The additional payment appropriations will benefit PHARE (cooperation with Countries of Central and Eastern Europe, + EUR 147 million), OBNOVA (cooperation with the Republics formerly part of Yugoslavia, not including Kosovo, + EUR 40 million) and FYROM (macro-financial assistance to the countries of the Western Balkans region, + EUR 15 million).

It also provides for 15 new OLAF posts which do not require any additional appropriations under the 1999 budget.

APPOINTMENT

Committee of the Regions

The Council adopted a Decision appointing Mr Jürgen GNAUCK as a member of the Committee of the Regions in place of Mr Otto KRETSCHMER for the remainder of his term of office, which runs until 25 January 2002.


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