Syria: Assad exit not essential for Geneva 2, FM Bonino says

Democracy at risk in Turkey, EU should play a role but be open

05 June, 20:02


    (ANSAmed) - Romeì - The departure of Syrian president Bashar al Assad should not be considered as an essential pre-condition for staging the Geneva 2 peace talks on Syria, according to Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino.

    Bonino says there are two "inescapable" issues for the Geneva 2 conference - a transition process through a coalition government and the fact that "you cannot demand, like a part of the opposition, holding the conference on the condition that Bashar al Assad resign".

    "His departure is the object of negotiation, not the pre-condition," Bonino says in an interview with Tempi, which is to be published tomorrow.

    Asked about the topless protest campaign adopted by the Femen movement, ''I believe that the true goal of those who are committed should be freedom, and not to replace rights with duties. Rights go together with duties. And if I have the right to express myself, I also have the right to respect others", the minister says.

    Regarding Turkey, Bonino says "there are worrying elements in the Turkish government's action, and we should never forget that Italy and Turkey share the record for sentences from the European Court of Human Rights: us for the conditions of our prisons and the length of trials, them for pre-trial detention".

    On the repression of the protests against the Erdogan government, Bonino believes the EU should get involved because democracy is at risk. However she says Italy must continue its policy of openness with Turkey and try to convince other recalcitrant European partners without staying silent on specific aspects of Turkish policies that we find unacceptable".

    She noted Erdogan has "changed course" on foreign policy, acting "like a principal player in the region" and he " is sufferign from the impact of Syria".

    "I continue to believe firmly in the European prospects for Turkey and its role in regional stability and security".


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