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EU must defend the right to vote in Palestine - de Brún

18 October, 2004

Speaking from the European Social Forum, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has called for strong EU action to ensure fair elections in Palestine.

Ms de Brún was speaking after a meeting with a Palestinian delegation composed of:

  • Mustapha Barghouti from The Palestinian National Initiative
  • Nurit Peled previous recipient of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize
  • Jonathan Shapira, Israeli pilot and member of Pilot Courage Refuse

Ms de Brún continued:

"We heard at first hand of interference in the proposed electoral process through the closure of some voter registration offices. Nationalists in the Six Counties know only too well the debilitating effect that disenfranchising voters can have on a peace process. If the EU is calling for democracy and reform in Palestine, then it must react now to this attempt to deny Palestinians the right to vote."

Ms de Brún also welcomed the opportunity to meet Mustapha Barghouti face-to-face.

Ms de Brún said:

"I had hoped to welcome Mustapha Barghouti to Belfast last year where he was due to address a meeting I chaired at St Mary‚s College University as part of the West Belfast Festival. At that time, the Israeli government refused to let him travel, so the meeting was held by video-link. I was delighted to meet Mustapha Barghouti face-to-face today. I hope he will be able to visit Belfast in the future."

In conclusion, Ms de Brún called for the suspension of the EU-Israel special trade agreement because of the continued breach of human rights and of the terms of the Agreement by the Israeli government." ENDS

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