Ashton to discuss Yemen situation with GCC

May 24, 2011

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday said she would consult with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before making moves on the situation in Yemen, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

Ashton told reporters as she arrived for the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels that she spoke to President Ali Abdullah Saleh some weeks ago and said to him then that he knew what he has to do for his country, Kuna reported from the Belgian capital.

“He had a good discussion with the opposition and he knows how to take his country forward. The work of the GCC has been extraordinary. So he really does know what he has to do,” she said.

“I will hold talks with the GCC before doing anything further because it is important to know the situation exactly as it is. Our ambassador on the ground has been an observer to what has been happening and he and I will talk later,” she said.

The EU foreign ministers would be expressing concern about what developments in Yemen and the new failure of Saleh to take his country forward, she said.

Ashton said that the Iranian foreign minister wrote to her recently and “sadly reiterated the old position.”

“We want them to move forward with the nuclear talks,” she said, adding that the EU will keep the pressure on Iran on the human rights situation and try and stop them with the large number of executions.

The EU ministers will also discuss the Middle East peace process in light of US President Barack Obama’s speech.

“The EU had a common position for a long time which says that they should start the process on the basis of the 1967 borders with land swaps that reflect the changes that have taken place on the ground,” Ashton said.

Ashton said she would report to the ministers on her visit to Benghazi where she opened an EU office to help the National Transitional Council of Libya.

The ministers will also discuss the “situation in Syria” and imposing additional sanctions on the regime in Damascus, she said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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