Summary: 23 May 2011, Brussels - Council of the European Union PRESS RELEASE: 3091st Council meeting on Foreign Affairs
President : Catherine ASHTON, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Main results of the Council
The Foreign Affairs Council discussed the Southern Neighbourhood Region and adopted conclusions on Syria, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.
It condemned in the strongest terms the ongoing repression in Syria and the unacceptable violence used by the military and security forces against peaceful protestors which have lead to hundreds of fatalities and many more people being injured. It indicated that as part of an ongoing review of all aspects of its cooperation with Syria, the EU has decided to suspend all preparations in relation to new bilateral cooperation programs and to suspend the ongoing bilateral programs with the Syrian authorities under ENPI and MEDA instruments. It also extended the EU's restrictive measures agreed on 9 May to 10 more individuals, including President Bashar al-Assad.
The Council underlined that the EU remained gravely concerned by the serious situation in Libya and reiterated its call for full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973. It welcomed the initiative by High Representative Ashton to open a technical EU office in Benghazi, in order to foster EU assistance in coordination with member states and other actors and as a signal of EU solidarity with the Libyan people. The Council also extended the EU's restrictive measures to an additional individual and an additional entity in Libya.
On Yemen, the Council condemned President Saleh’s repeated failure to sign up to the GCC sponsored initiative, despite agreement by all the political parties including the ruling party and the relentless efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council and its Secretary General, which have full EU backing.
The Council noted that the fundamental changes across the Arab world have made the need for progress on the Middle East Peace Process all the more urgent. It welcomed President Obama's recent speech which sets out important elements contributing to the resumption of negotiations. It looks forward to an early meeting of the Quartet Principals to take the process forward.
The Council also extended its restrictive measures on Iran and on Belarus.
Defence ministers reviewed developments in the Common security and defence policy (CSDP). The Council adopted conclusions on Pooling and sharing of military capabilities, calling for a structured and long-term approach based on a high level of ambition, in a wide array of capability areas, and leading to concrete results.
CONTENTS: ITEMS DEBATED
Southern Neighbourhood Region
Middle East Peace Process
European External Action Service (EEAS)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
OTHER ITEMS APPROVED
– EU Action Plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan
COMMON SEURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY
– Report by the Head of the European Defence Agency
– European Defence Agency (EDA) /European Space Agency (ESA)
– Single Progress Report
– EUPOL Afghanistan
– European Union Satellite Centre (SATCEN)
– First Annual Report to the European Council on EU Development Aid Targets
Download the complete Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions.