Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-11-19-Speech-3-159"

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"Mr President, let me begin with three statements: the war in Chechnya is not Mr Putin’s private affair; the war in Chechnya is not a war against terrorism; and the war in Chechnya still spawns daily acts of violence on a massive scale against the human rights of the civil population. We can only talk to President Putin about advancing the partnership between the European Union and Russia on the basis of these three premises. For this reason, we strongly support the criticism contained in the resolution on which Parliament will vote tomorrow directed at the current President-in-Office of the European Union, for the inadmissible statements made by Mr Berlusconi supporting Mr Putin’s policy in Chechnya. These statements – and I am addressing the under-secretary, Mr Antonione – were utterly unacceptable and totally devoid of any connection with the policy expressed by the European Union up to now. As Mr Poettering has reminded us, the European Union regards Chechnya as an open wound. Mr Berlusconi’s affinities and personal friendships cannot and must not jeopardise the rigor with which Europe must demand that President Putin put an immediate end to the abuses and violence in Chechnya and seek a political solution to that conflict. Mr President, 3000 deaths since the beginning of the year, 300 people missing, 50 mass graves discovered and elections known to be a farce: this is the balance of the war in Chechnya, and a story of long-standing impunity: the Italian Presidency really ought to call President Putin to account over this. We would have expected some words of regret from Mr Antonione about what has happened and some plain speaking about what will happen in future. We note, Mr President, that these words have not yet come."@en1

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