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Statement by the Spokesperson on the latest developments in Sudan

The decision by the Government of Sudan to expel senior UN officials puts at risk the access to the international assistance that is one of the most immediate needs of the people of Sudan. Instead, the international community would want to see the Government of Sudan take the steps that help lift the country from its current isolation.

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Statement by the Spokesperson on the sentencing of Alexey Navalny and his brother Oleg Navalny

The guilty verdict delivered today, Tuesday 30 December, by the Zamoskvoretsky Court against Alexey Navalny and his brother Oleg Navalny appears to be politically motivated.

The charges against them have not been substantiated during the trial. With the exception of a few selected representatives of the media, no public and international observers were allowed into the court building for the reading of the verdict.

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The New Year pardon announced by President Aliyev for several prisoners, including a number of journalists and opposition youth activists held in detention, is a welcome step.

At the same time a decision to close the Baku bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty contravening Azerbaijan's international commitments to protect media freedom has been taken.

Restoring the international community's faith in the commitment of Azerbaijan to the freedom of expression, a free and independent media, and to the rule of law will require consistent efforts of the authorities in Baku.

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The arrest of Sheikh Ali Salman on 28 December marks a further step in the confrontation between a part of the opposition and the authorities of the Kingdom of Bahrain that carries the risk of jeopardizing an already difficult political and security situation.

The requisite standards of due process have to be ensured, including the presence of Sheikh Ali Salman's legal counsel at all stages, transparency regarding his whereabouts, the objective application of guidelines for release on bail and, should Sheikh Ali Salman be brought to trial, fair and transparent court proceedings.

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The latest decision by the Russian Ministry of Justice on 25 December to forcibly include the Sakharov centre as well as two other regional NGOs in the so called "Foreign Agents Registry" confirms continued pressure on Russian civil society and human rights organisations. With this latest decision the number of Russian NGOs labelled as "foreign agents" has increased to a total of twenty-four.

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The attack carried out by Al-Shabaab against the Halane base camp of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), within Mogadishu International Airport, is a stark reminder of the terrorist threat in Somalia.

We express our condolences to the victims and the families of those who have lost their lives.

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“The entry into force today of the Arms Trade Treaty, adopted in  April 2013 by the UN General Assembly, is a landmark in the international security agenda.
 
 The EU has been an active supporter of the principles of greater responsibility and transparency in arms trade enshrined in the Treaty.

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Joint press conference by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC, Ibrahim Al-Jafaari, Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Bert Koenders, Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs

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http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I097172

On Sunday 21 December Tunisians marked a milestone in their country's transition to democracy by freely electing their President for the first time.

I should like to congratulate Mr Beji Caid Essebsi on being elected President of Tunisia. The European Union remains committed to working with the new Tunisian authorities, and with all elements of society, to help consolidate the democratic gains envisaged in the new Constitution, and to support the implementation of the reforms needed for an economic and social transition of benefit to all Tunisians.

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