With the heart in Colombia

With the heart in Colombia

Fifty years are a terribly long time for a country at war. But tonight, in Cartagena, President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of FARC, Rodrigo Londoño, finally found the courage and the strength to sign a peace agreement that might end the conflict in Colombia. I have always followed very closely the Colombian peace process. As Italy’s Foreign Minister, I decided to attend President Santos inauguration in Bogota. He was then the first Head of State I met as the High Representative of the European Union. The end of this war closes an era. It gives hope to a people, to a continent and to the entire world. For this reason the Europea Union has accompanied the peace process and will continue to do so. Today we suspend the FARC from our list of terrorist organisations, to support the reconciliation process and the implementation of the deal. Peace is now in the hands of the Colombian people: with their vote they can turn this promise of peace into reality. Tonight I am writing from Bratislava, but the heart is in...
Between Boston and Bratislava

Between Boston and Bratislava

I write after coming back from the long United Nations General Assembly week in New York. Before heading to Brussels, though, I stopped by in Boston – where, hosted by John Kerry we had a long day of informal works together with the Foreign Minister of France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. It was an opportunity to find common ground on a number of issues on which we need to act jointly, from Libya to Ukraine. But first and foremost we discussed how to stop the escalation of the Syrian conflict. Here is our joint statement, and here is the one I issued together with the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Christos Stylianides. Tomorrow I’ll be in Bratislava, where I will chair the meeting of the 28 Defence Ministers of the European Union. I will present them with the options I have prepared over the last few weeks, after the presentation of our Global Strategy. The aim is to integrate further our work on Defence, and to make full use of the tools that the treaties provide to our Union: from deploying the Battlegroups to permanent structured cooperations, to supporting investments on research and technology. Tomorrow’s meeting will move forward the work we have already started, to adopt a European Defence Plan in November with the Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs, and then in December at the summit of Heads of State and...
UN General Assembly, day 5: setbacks and successes

UN General Assembly, day 5: setbacks and successes

I write at the end of a very intense week at the United Nations, which I concluded yesterday in New York presenting the European Union’s Global Strategy at Columbia University (here is the video of my speech there). During these days in New York we had moments of gratification, and moments of deep frustration. In just a few hours, I could measure the distance between the successes and the setbacks of multilateral diplomacy. On Thursday, for instance, I chaired the ministerial meeting with the seven countries who reached last year’s deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Together with Javad Zarif, John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov and the ministers of China, Germany, France and Great Britain, we concurred that the implementation of the deal is well on track, as verified by the IAEA in three successive reports (here is the press conference at the end of the meeting). It is the sign not only that diplomacy works, but also that it can produce results that stand the test of time. Then, just minutes later, together with the same ministers and with others, we went through one of the most frustrating and sad pages of our work on Syria: the International Syria Support Group’s meeting couldn’t find an agreement on a cessation of hostilities. The Iran deal taught us something: even the most difficult goals can be reached through determination and perseverance. So, even in the toughest moments, our work goes on – and today I’m in Boston to search new pathways, for Syria and for the other regional conflicts, together with Kerry and the other ministers of the “Quint” (Germany, France, Britain and Italy). Our work goes on, with unity...