The only choice left for Mr Gaddafi is to step down, said János Martonyi after the Foreign Affairs Council’s extraordinary session in Brussels on 10 March 2011. The EU’s Ministers for Foreign Affairs increased the severity of sanctions on the Libyan regime.
“The Gaddafi era is over”, János Martonyi said on behalf of the Hungarian Presidency at the press conference following the extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs, held on 10 March 2011. The Hungarian Foreign Minister underlined that the status quo ante cannot be restored, and the only choice left for Gaddafi is to step down.
The Minister added that the EU’s unambiguous and strong political message has to be reinforced by clear measures, including more severe sanctions. In this spirit, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs decided to extend the list of frozen assets and the arms embargo to isolate the Libyan regime in economic and political terms.
Presidency ready to provide further help
János Martony stressed that the European Union and the Hungarian Presidency have already taken their share of tackling the Libyan crisis and are willing to provide further help to the North African country.
At present, the situation is rather complicated in Libya, said the Minister. He added that humanitarian assistance has to continue given the risk of a humanitarian emergency along the Tunisian border, where nearly 250 thousand refugees left Libya within a short time. The Minister pointed out that Hungarian Minister of State for European Affairs Enikő Győri and European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva European Commissioner visited Tunisia to assess the humanitarian crisis and needs on the grounds.
Another concern is that at least two million foreigners are still in Libya. Approximately 1 million are Egyptian citizens, and the rest are mainly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and African countries. Their evacuation is being organised continuously.
No flight zone could be on the agenda
The agenda could include a decision about a no flight zone in the Libyan airspace depending on the future circumstances, said the Minister. Mr Martonyi said that the requirements include a UN Security Council resolution and the Arab League’s participation. This does not exclude the cooperation of others, for example the African Union, he added.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister confirmed that negotiations are underway with leaders of the Libyan opposition. Mr Martonyi thinks that the Arab League, with which the European Union has to enter into a close cooperation, should also be involved in the process. This could make the EU’s message better heard in the Arab country, he said.
High Representative Catherine Ashton has convened an extraordinary informal Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Thursday, 10 March. It will be held as a working lunch between 11.30 and 13.30.
Location: Justus Lipsius
Address: Belgium Brussels, Wetstraat, 175
The High Representative and EU Foreign Ministers will exchange views and share information on ongoing developments in Libya and the wider region ahead of the extraordinary European Council meeting which takes place the following day, on 11 March. The HR will report on her trips to the region, her contacts with international partners and work underway to support the transition and
The High Representative will then debrief Foreign Ministers on the European Council at the Gymnich meeting taking place in the late afternoon of 11 and on 12 March in Hungary.