Press conference on Syria at the UN General Assembly

We had a very important session of work, co-hosted by our Jordan friends, on the issue of the Syrian refugees. We tackled not only the issue of humanitarian assistance, which was obviously the focus of the meeting, but also the political and security tracks when it comes to the Syrian crisis. You know very well that the Syrian refugees problem is first of all a problem for the region, and we have all recognised the incredible, important, wonderful work that Jordan is playing in hosting so many refugees together with the other countries of the region, in particular Lebanon and Turkey. We also recognized the need to focus all our efforts in supporting this process, not only focusing on the work in the camps, but also on the support to hosting communities. Local communities that are hosting millions of people with a difficult situation when it comes to services, health services, education and the social situation. We also focused very much on the fact that dealing with the humanitarian aspect of the crisis is curing only the symptoms. At the same time we also have to tackle the causes, which is the war in Syria. And this requires, on one side the security track – the fight against Da’esh – and on the other side, the political one, the diplomatic efforts that are very much going on – as you know – around this week here in New York to start the political transition or, as some put it, changes in the democratic life of Syria. I see that, around this concept of starting a political process that includes...

Press conference on Quartet “plus” at the UN General Assembly

We had this afternoon a meeting of the Quartet principals, following the last one we had in Munich, in February, to work together – EU, US, UN and Russia – on concrete steps on the ground in the absence of the peace process in the Middle East. We have decided to revitalize the Quartet activities. As you might know, our envoys to the Quartet have been working together very hard in these last months. They have been visiting together a number of regional key actors, in particular Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, as a way of involving them in a common effort to restart the engine of the peace process. And focus on what is probably the most viable, maybe the only viable way, today, which is focus on concrete steps on the ground, and in particular on encouraging the parties to start implementing the already signed agreements. We believe this can be a very important step in the right direction to preserve the opportunity to have two states. And start rebuilding trust and confidence, both in Israel and in Palestine, in the other party, and in the process itself. This is what we have decided; this is what we have asked our envoys to work on. This is also what I am going to discuss right now – so, sorry I will be short – with Prime Minister Netanyahu. And this is also what we shared with some of the other key actors on this file, in the second part of the meeting. You know, our Arab friends joined us to share their opinions and their views in this...

Arriving at the conference on migrations on the Western Balkans route

At the conference today, as you know, we are focusing mainly on the Eastern Mediterranean Route, where the majority of refugees are coming through in these weeks and months in Europe. (These are) people who are fleeing from terrible situations in Syria, in Iraq, but also some from Afghanistan. This is our way of coming together around this, with all our partners in the region, not only the European Union Member States, but also our partners in the Western Balkans, in the region: Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and international agencies – all together to find common answers, common solutions to what we see is a common challenge. It is not only a European crisis, but it is first of all a regional and a global situation that we need to face together. Today we gather all the different relevant actors, inside and outside the European Union, and also, let me say, all the different EU policies – because together with me we have the Luxembourg Presidency, Interior and Foreign Ministers together, but also the different Commissioners who have a competence on this: Avramopoulos, Hahn, Stylianides – joining forces to tackle an issue that is going to be very difficult to solve: root causes, but also humanitarian assistance and support to countries of transit. I think we have a press conference in about 1,5 hours, where we will have all the details on what we are going to agree hopefully now. Obviously, it will be much more than a one day meeting that will be needed to solve the crisis, but gathering together all the key actors with a common...