At the Foreign Affairs Council: for Aleppo, and for the future of Syria

At the Foreign Affairs Council: for Aleppo, and for the future of Syria

I write after a long day at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg. It was mostly dedicated to the greatest humanitarian catastrophe since World War 2, which is unfolding at Europe’s borders: the conflict in Syria. The priority right now is saving Aleppo. The Syrian regime and Russia have to halt the bombings and let humanitarian aid in: this is the position we expressed, together with all Foreign Ministers of the European Union. We have prepared, already a few weeks ago, a European plan to let humanitarian aid enter the besieged Eastern part of the city, and to transfer the wounded and the sick. We are ready to start, as soon as a truce of at least a few hours will make it possible. We discussed about it with the United Nations’ Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, after the weekend meetings in London and Lausanne. The European Union has always supported and taken part in all efforts by the United Nations and by other actors. Today we have decided to do even more, launching – in coordination with the UN – a dialogue on the future of Syria with regional powers, starting with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. We will also intensify the work we are already doing with the Syrian civil society, to engage the opposition forces but also the Churches, the NGOs, the women’s organisations. When this conflict will be over, it will be up to them to rebuild and reconciliate the country. And it will be up to us to accompany them – a work we can begin as of today.   Our Union has risen from the ashes of...