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EU Foreign Ministers meeting lively.

Published tisdag 12 oktober 2004 kl 13.21
Photo: henrik Montgomery/ Pressens Bild

Foreign Ministers in dispute over China and Turkey, but more or less in harmony on Libya.

At the EU Foreign Minister’s meeting in Luxembourg Monday, the gathered ministers failed to reach a consensus on ending a 15-year-old embargo on weapons sales to China, with Sweden wanting to maintain the ban and others suggesting tighter restrictions, mainly over the issue of human rights.  

And an unscheduled debate broke out over Turkey’s bid to join the bloc.  Cyrprus listed a host of grievances, others suggesting conditions be placed on negotiations and still others asking for further review.  Sweden urged its EU partners to open negotiations with Ankara as soon as possible in 2005 and insisted that no special conditions be applied to Turkey that had not been placed on earlier candidates.

The Ministers did agree on one thing: to end 18-years of sanctions, including an arms ban, on Libya.  Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds said Libya had lived up to all the requirements for lifting the embargo:  they decided to cooperate with non-proliferation, something which was welcomed. 

Despite the decision, EU Foreign Ministers did point out that respect for human rights should be improved in Libya, with Freivalds saying, ’we must find a solution to the five foreign individuals sentenced to death’.  Five Bulgarians were given death sentences after they were found guilty by Libyan courts of purposely injecting children with HIV. 

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