Summary: 20 July 2015, Brussels – Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini following the Foreign Affairs Council.
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Good afternoon, I know you are all waiting for other news this afternoon from a different format of the Council that is meeting in this very same moment. I am also waiting from news from that format of the Council.
Today with the Foreign Ministers we started by celebrating good results of European and multilateral diplomacy, which shows us also the way for the many crises we still have to face and that still need to be solved.
We started by sharing with the Ministers our results on Iran. We endorsed the agreement that we reached in Vienna last week, in parallel with the unanimous UN Security Council Resolution endorsing the agreement itself.
It is an agreement that is strong and useful not only in comparison with an absence of agreement, but also in itself. It is an agreement that will make sure that Iran will not be able to have nuclear weapons – an agreement good for the security of the neighbourhoods and of the region. It is an agreement that is finally highlighting the potential of multilateralism and diplomacy, which is in itself a value for the European Union way of working on foreign policy. It is an agreement that has the potential to open new chapter in Iran, in international relations and relations with the rest of the region.
Finally, it is a good news coming from European Union activity, and a very strong one. I will keep as the High Representative a key role in the implementation phase as I will be coordinating the joint commission on the follow-up of the agreement. We are all already working to support the first step of this agreement and I intend to visit Teheran very soon.
Then with the Ministers we had a long and fruitful discussion on the situation in Libya, starting by sharing all our solidarity to the Italian authorities and to the Italian people after the kidnapping of four Italian citizens in Libya and this shows us that urgency of dealing with Libya and the crisis in Libya is not going away, on the contrary – it is even increasing.
In Libya there was a partial agreement facilitated by Bernardino León who was with us today debriefing the ministers and sharing with us the way ahead. It is a partial agreement that in itself is a good step that a few months ago would have been probably impossible to imagine or to really believe. It would have been impossible. But it is a partial agreement that could possibly lead to a full agreement and I – on behalf of all the ministers that were meeting today- invite all in Tripoli to join in the process and to contribute to something that is very much needed, not just by the international community, but by the Libyan people themselves.
We as the European Union, are ready to give all the economic and security support to a government of national accord in the moment when this will start. When I talk about the economic support, I talk about something very concrete: we discussed with the ministers a package of 100 million euros that is ready for supporting Libya in the moment when the Libyan authorities will define ways and needs on which they would require our assistance. But before we get there, we need to have a government of National Unity in place and I hope this can be the case in the coming weeks.
We also discussed a difficult issue that was on the table and is on the table, which is the issue of sanctions against the spoilers of the process. We as European Union are prepared to adopt sanctions, we have started considering names. Obviously we would prefer this decision or this discussion to take place in the UN system as we believe that it is the international community as a whole that has to put pressure and to open the way for those that have not joined in so far to do so and to make sure that also the citizens of Tripoli have a fair share of stability and peaceful developments in their country.
A further point on our agenda today was the Middle East Peace Process, where the success of diplomacy on other fields, on other files, tells us that there is no crisis that cannot be solved by diplomacy and through dialogue. This is something important to keep in mind in the moment where, in the Middle East, there seems to be no Peace Process at all.
We need to keep the ambition high, we need to keep the vision, as Europeans, and as international community and we have to keep the patience to negotiate and to build the conditions for negotiations to restart.
We decided together with the Foreign Ministers, and together also with our Special Representative Fernando Gentilini, to focus our European Union activities in the next weeks on two tracks.
On one side, supporting, improving the situation on the ground, especially in Gaza, and preventing the situation to get worse, which could be extremely dangerous for everybody, not only in Palestine, in Israel, but also in the region – which is also improving the daily conditions on the ground, a way of rebuilding trust or building trust among the parties, which is a precondition that seems to be far from being achieved at the moment. This might also involve some work on starting implementing some of the agreements that were already signed in the past.
The second track we decided to focus on is creating the conditions for a new political horizon, meaning a new international and regional framework that would lead to the conditions to restart negotiations.
As we focused on crises, we also focused on partners and how to strengthen them. You know already about our long meeting with the Tunisian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. We had a joint press conference following our meeting.
And I am going to Morocco tonight, where I will pay my first official visit tomorrow, because we know very well that while we tackle the crises, the open crises, we also need to focus very much on strengthening our partners in the region, preventing crises to happen, strengthening actors that can help us managing with the crises that are open and obviously both Tunisia and Morocco have a key role to play when it comes to the Libyan crisis; Morocco in particular, having hosted the talks all these months.
We adopted also, another point of the agenda, the Human Rights Action Plan, together with our EU Special Representative Lambrinidis.
And, last but not least, this is really not something we did in the Foreign Affairs Council, but I just did it now – I had a meeting with the Foreign Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, following the agreement they reached in Skopje last week.
Last week was a rather lucky one when it comes to Foreign Policy – at least partial steps were done in most cases, apart from the Iranian one that was really a complete success and deal.
I will stop here and am ready to answer your questions.
Link to the Video:
- Ref: EU15-303EN
- EU source:
- UN forum:
- Date: 20/7/2015