Page last updated at 20:24 GMT, Tuesday, 17 April 2012 21:24 UK

Foreign affairs statements

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On 17 April 2012, MEPs heard a series of statements from the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Ashton, on the situation in Mali, Syria and Burma.

Mali is in the grip of an unprecedented political crisis, one of the most serious since the landlocked West African country gained independence from France in 1960.

The army seized power in March, accusing the elected government of being soft on the rebels - but while the military was distracted, the rebels made rapid advances.

Mali's Tuareg rebels are now in control of the north of the country - one of the poorest in the world.

Under a deal brokered by the West African regional bloc Ecowas, the country has now returned to civilian rule - with Mali's parliamentary speaker sworn in as interim president on 12 April. But political uncertainty remains.

Baroness Ashton told MEPs that Europe's primary aim was to deliver quick relief to the "most affected and vulnerable population".

The EU remained committed to the preservation of Mali's territorial unity and sovereignty, she added.

"Stability in the region is essential for all the African partners of Europe," she said, adding that the EU will do its best to find solutions to the crisis.

MEPs also heard a statement from Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle, on behalf of Lady Ashton, on the EU's Black Sea strategy.

The Black Sea region is made up of 10 countries: EU member states Bulgaria, Greece, Romania; candidate country Turkey; and Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

MEPs adopted the resolutions on Mali and Burma during the voting session on on 20 April 2012.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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