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C 304/162 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

Is the Council aware of the severity of the situation? Has it taken, or will it be taking, any initiatives in connection
with it?

Answer
(8 June 1998)

The Council shares the concern of the Honourable Member over the continued instability and resumption of
fighting on both sides of the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The
European Union is determined, through partnership with governments and others in the region, and including
through the good offices of its Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, to promote political stability,
democratisation and economic and social development. The EU Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region,
Mr Ajello, reported to the Council on 30 March 1998 on his latest mission to the area and has since been on a
further mission to the Great Lakes Region.

On the DRC, the European Union remains concerned in particular about the fragile situation in the Kivu region.
The DRC Government has recently sent a large number of troops to the Kivu provinces to restore order and
prevent rebel groups from using DRC territory to stage raids into neighbouring countries. It appears that the
neighbouring countries have made it clear that they could settle the problem on their own, if the DRC is not able
to assert its control over its border areas. Little is known about the origins of the Mai Mai uprising. The Mai Mai
were one of the earliest supporters of Kabila’s uprising against Mobutu in late 1996, but their forces have refused
to become integrated in the new DRC army, which has never been able to effectively control their tribal
homelands. Mai Mai traditional warriors, former Mobutu’s government troops, local tribesmen protesting at the
presence of Rwandan Tutsi troops in DRC, and Hutu rebels from neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi may be
fighting alongside one another.

The action of Hutu extremists, ex-FAR and Interahamwe militia in Rwanda is a different problem which involves
primarily the Rwandan Government. The Council uses every opportunity to bring across the message to the
Rwandan Government that only a political solution can bring lasting peace and reconciliation in Rwanda. On
30 March 1998 the Council adopted a Common Position setting out the political principles on which the EU will
base its future relations with Rwanda. It also adopted conclusions on the Great Lakes Region. The Heads of
Mission of the Troika in Kigali submitted the Common Position to the Rwandan Government, which agreed that
its aims were unity and national reconciliation, rule of law, respect for human rights, promotion of democracy
and power-sharing.

The Council works closely with other interested parties, such as the UN, OAU, the regional leaders and with the
United States to promote political solutions to the conflicts of the region. In due course the idea of an
international conference under the auspices of the UN and the OAU on peace, security and development should
be considered. The Council will continue to follow the situation in the Great Lakes Region closely.

(98/C 304/248) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0975/98


by Carlos Robles Piquer (PPE) to the Council
(31 March 1998)

Subject: Political prisoners in Cuba

Regarding the Council’s reply to my written question E-3519/97 (1) on relations with Cuba, I should like to know
whether the phased dialogue beginning at technical level referred to will strictly observe the conditions laid down
in the current Joint Position with regard to the Cuban Government; and whether there has been a request that the
political prisoners released in tribute to his holiness Jean Paul II should include Felix Antonio Boné Carcasses,
René Gómez Manzano, Vladimiro Roca Antúnez and Mrs Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, all of whom are being
held in prison for the simple crime of having written that ‘the motherland belongs to everybody’?

(1) OJ C 158, 25.5.1998, p. 138.


2. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/163

Answer
(8 June 1998)

The European Union’s common position on Cuba of 2 December 1996 states that in order to facilitate peaceful
change in Cuba, the Union will encourage the reform of internal legislation concerning political and civil rights,
including the Cuban criminal code. It is against this background, and at a technical level, that was organized the
mission of legal experts which the Commission sent to Cuba in accordance with the Presidency’s
recommendations which the Council approved on 8 December 1997. The report on this mission will be analysed
by the Council and will constitute one of the elements to be taken into consideration at the next evaluation of the
common position which is due to take place in June 1998. In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 4 of the
common position, it is as the Cuban authorities make progress towards democracy that the Union will lend its
support to that process and will examine the appropriate use of the means at its disposal for that purpose.

As for the second question put by the Honourable Member, the Council would like to point out that on
24 February 1998 the Presidency made a declaration on behalf of the European Union in which it welcomes the
Cuban Government’s decision to release immediately a certain number of prisoners in response to the Pope’s
appeal and in which it urges the authorities to liberate and fully reintegrate into society all who have been
imprisoned for having peacefully expressed their political views, including the four leading members of the
Internal Dissidence Working Group.

(98/C 304/249) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1051/98


by Jens-Peter Bonde (I-EDN) to the Council
(3 April 1998)

Subject: Abolition of border controls and derogations

How should Article 14 and Article 62 be construed in relation to each other and how does the Schengen
Agreement’s timetable for abolishing border controls take effect in relation to Articles 14 and 62?

What is the difference between the Danish derogation and the UK and Irish derogation from Article 14?

Does Denmark also have derogations from the provision concerning the abolition of border controls?

Does the derogation from Article 14 also apply to the Kingdom of Denmark?

Answer
(4 June 1998)

As long as the Treaty of Amsterdam has not entered into force, the Council considers itself not a position to make
statements concerning the meaning of articles introduced by that Treaty.

(98/C 304/250) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1085/98


by Jannis Sakellariou (PSE) to the Council
(31 March 1998)

Subject: Implementation of the Association Agreement with Tunisia

Although it has been ratified by the national parliaments and the European Parliament, and entered into force on
1 March 1998, the agreement between Tunisia and the European Union has not yet been implemented in the case
of the commitments made by the EU in the agricultural sector, notably with regard to olive oil, because the
Council has not adopted the required implementing regulation. Is this situation not likely to harm a partnership
that we have been steadfastly trying to encourage?