Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-01-12-Speech-3-145"

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"Mr President, in view of the instruments currently at its disposal, I think the Commission reacted appropriately. There is, however, one aspect of the South-East Asian situation about which I feel there is considerable reticence on the part of all politicians, at least in their public speeches. I refer to the political troubles in many of these countries: from Sri Lanka to southern Thailand or Indonesia, particularly in the area of Banda Aceh. It is a question of intervening in areas where armed independence movements have been present and active for a long time. These are areas of very violent guerrilla warfare, where there is also infiltration by Islamic groups linked to Al Qaida or the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya organisation. Such elements make the whole reconstruction effort highly problematic, yet I have heard very little said about them, especially in public speeches. I am convinced that real, effective reconstruction is impossible without resolving the political problems: genuine political reconstruction needs to be set in motion throughout the region, to renew the currently stalled peace processes and also to strengthen the institutions and the rule of law, without which the forces of instability are likely to come to a head. This is a great opportunity. If it is well used, the whole reconstruction programme can provide the leverage needed to restart the peace processes, but if not – if intervention is badly managed – it may make the already obvious tensions explode. In this context, I believe the European Union should address the problem of its political presence during the reconstruction process, because at the moment it is not visible and it will be even less visible later. For instance, I find it disconcerting that the first meeting between the government in Jakarta and guerrillas of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) took place in the presence of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan, Singapore and Libya, while the European Union was clearly absent from the negotiating table. These are matters which, if ignored, will prevent you from properly managing the reconstruction process, which will be long and difficult but also potentially very worthwhile."@en1

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