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Libyan Newswire

Text adopted – Mauritania – P6_TA(2006)0323 – Thursday, 6 July 2006 – Strasbourg – Final edition

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (“the Cotonou agreement”), in particular Article 96 thereof,

–   having regard to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly’s resolution on the situation in West Africa(1) , adopted in Edinburgh (United Kingdom) on 24 November 2005,

–   having regard to the 24 undertakings given by the Islamic Republic of Mauritania during the consultations with the ACP on the Islamic Republic of Mauritania pursuant to Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement (Brussels, 30 November 2005),

–   having regard to the report of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly’s information and study mission to Mauritania from 23 to 27 February 2006,

–   having regard to the report of the working party of its delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (including Libya), which visited Mauritania from 3 to 5 May 2006,

–   having regard to the decision of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) of 21 June 2006,

–   having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency, on behalf of the European Union, on the referendum in Mauritania of 28 June 2006,

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the former President Ould Taya was overthrown on 3 August 2005 without any bloodshed,

B.   whereas the Military Council for Justice and Democracy (MCJD) declared its willingness to put an end to the former regime’s totalitarian practices and undertook to restore democracy in Mauritania,

C.   having regard to the consensus that has emerged among the political parties and civil society in support of the current process,

D.   having regard to the setting up of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) and the adoption of a an electoral timetable for a constitutional referendum, as well as general, municipal and presidential elections,

E.   whereas the transitional authorities have so far kept their promises as regards the timetable for elections, in particular the holding of an electoral census (RAVEL), which was completed on 30 April 2006,

F.   whereas there was a turnout of 76.36% in the referendum of 25 June 2006 and 96.96% of the electorate voted in favour of constitutional changes,

G.   whereas, however, large sections of the Mauritanian population were unable to prove their identity in order to obtain a polling card in accordance with electoral law, which requires a copy of the birth certificate of parents and grandparents,

H.   whereas a large number of citizens were unable to obtain their papers and were thus unable to vote on 25 June 2006, both in view of the material conditions and because the elections were held at very short notice,

I.   having regard to the abolition, ascertained in practice, of media censorship,

J.   whereas the oil extraction began in April 2006 and a new agreement on oil was concluded between the Mauritanian transitional government and the Australian company Woodside at the beginning of June 2006,

K.   having regard to the undertakings given by the transitional authorities to combat corruption and to comply with international agreements on the subject,

L.   having regard to the substantial numbers of migrants departing for Europe from the coast of Mauritania,

M.   whereas the fisheries agreement between the European Union and Mauritania will expire on 31 July 2006,

1.  Notes with satisfaction the transitional authorities’ undertaking to establish democracy in Mauritania; encourages them to conduct this process in full compliance with the undertakings given and stresses that it will carefully monitor the progress of the process until its completion;

2.  Welcomes the successful conduct of the referendum of 25 June 2006, appreciated by the international observers present, and stresses that the massive number of Mauritanians voting in favour of the new Constitution marks a decisive stage in the process of democratic transition and demonstrates the population’s determination to build a true democracy and a constitutional State;

3.  Urges that all Mauritanians should be able to obtain papers so that they may vote in the forthcoming elections;

4.  Recommends that everything be done to ensure that Mauritanians abroad are able to vote in future elections;

5.  Welcomes the fact that the dynamic forces in the country – political parties and civil society – believe, overall, in the sincerity of those involved in the transition process;

6.  Welcomes the adoption of a timetable for holding a referendum on the Constitution and general, municipal and presidential elections and calls on the authorities to abide by this timetable;

7.  Welcomes the setting up of CENI, whose task will be to carry out the census of the electorate (RAVEL) and organise the forthcoming elections;

8.  Calls on the MCJD, the transitional government and CENI to decide to complete the census and the distribution of polling cards between the referendum and the elections, in order to bridge the gulf between the 1995 census and the current electoral roll, including the acceptance of the evidence of witnesses as a means of proving the identity of refugees who have returned to the country, and in this context welcomes the open-mindedness shown by the chair of CENI in Brussels on 30 May 2005;

9.  Notes that a large number of political parties have been created since 3 August 2005 and observes that they tend to group together in coalitions; encourages the drawing-up of electoral platforms that make practical proposals to improve the economic and social situation in the country;

10.  Recommends that political parties be funded on the basis of their representation in the municipal elections, in which proportional representation makes it easier to take account of the country’s diversity, and suggests that part of the funding should take the form of material aid, in order to enable the political parties to take part in the election campaign under favourable conditions;

11.  Welcomes the transitional authorities” agreement in principle to allow the return of refugees, but notes with concern that in practice the right has been exercised to only a small extent for two reasons: the inadequate financial means of those concerned and the fact that many of them are unable to prove that they have Mauritanian nationality;

12.  Calls, therefore, on the transitional authorities to consider seriously opening up polling stations for Mauritanians in embassies abroad and in the refugee camps in Mali and Senegal for the general and presidential elections;

13.  Notes the decision to reserve 20% of the list of candidates for women and recognises that this decision constitutes progress compared with the previous situation; nevertheless fears that in practice this rule will be ineffective if the parties put female candidates in constituencies that are bound to be lost or place ineligible ones on the lists of candidates;

14.  Calls on the Commission to decide to send a European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM);

15.  Welcomes the abolition, ascertained in practice, of media censorship;

16.  Welcomes the freedom of expression enjoyed by representatives of political parties and civil society in Mauritania, which augurs well for a real and dynamic democracy;

17.  Calls on the MCJD and the transitional government – whilst recognising that they cannot solve all the problems of the past – to focus on the humanitarian deficit, refugees and the legacy of slavery, as well as the impunity of perpetrators of economic crime;

18.  Welcomes the undertaking given by the members of the MCJD not to stand in the forthcoming elections;

19.  Calls on the current and future Mauritanian authorities to tackle the question of inequality in the distribution of wealth and to bring a minimum of social justice to Mauritania;

20.  Welcomes the ending of the consultations pursuant to the new Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement and the full resumption of cooperation between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and the fact that the Islamic Republic of Mauritania will thus not have been penalised by the events of 3 August 2005;

21.  Calls on the Mauritanian authorities to exploit the new oil resources to meet the needs of the population, especially in the fields of health and education;

22.  Welcomes the transitional authorities” commitment to implementing the principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

23.  Welcomes the commitment made by the transitional government to combat corruption and to ratify international agreements on the subject;

24.  Welcomes the Mauritanian authorities” determination to combat illegal immigration, which has made it possible to conclude important agreements between the EU and Mauritania, including the Atlantis project, cofinanced by the Commission, which establishes collaboration between EU Member States and Mauritania in the monitoring of Mauritania’s coast by joint Spanish-Mauritanian patrols;

25.  Calls on the Commission and the Mauritanian authorities to conclude the fisheries agreement negotiations on time and to devise an adequate policy to protect fish resources and preserve the marine and terrestrial biodiversity of the Arguin Bank in the vicinity of the extraction sites;

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the MCJD, the transitional government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament.

(1) OJ C 136, 9.6.2006, p. 26.
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