From European defence to Central Africa, to Syria

From European defence to Central Africa, to Syria

I write on my way to the Emirates, where tomorrow I will take part in the Sir Bani Yas Forum in a panel on Iran. In this moment it is essential to preserve the deal on Iran’s nuclear programme we reached after so much work one year ago, which I am tasked to guarantee. But it will especially be an opportunity to meet ministers from all over the region and carry on our work on the future of Syria, which I have set up on the European side over the last weeks: we need to build some common ground among regional powers, to facilitate a transition. I discussed about it today in Brussels, with the leaders of the Syrian opposition (here the press release), because Syria’s future has to be decided first and foremost by the Syrians. I also talked about Syria with the Foreign Minister of Lebanon, Gebran Bassil, days ago in Brussels. With him we also concluded our “compact” to support Syrian refugees and we agreed on our partnership’s priorities – in a moment when Lebanon works to move past its internal divisions, having just elected a new President after over two years of institutional deadlock (here is the video of our joint press conference). But this week was particularly important for the work we have done on Europe’s security and defence together with the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the 28. On Monday all Member States have approved my proposals to strengthen our cooperation in this field: it is a real change of pace, made together at 28, in a moment when Europe needs more than ever to relaunch its...

Federica Mogherini meets with the Syrian opposition leaders

The HR/VP Federica Mogherini met today the deputy High Negotiating Committee (HNC) general coordinator Yahia Kadmani, with the leaders of the HNC’s two main political coalitions – President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (SOC) Anas al-Abdah and the General Coordinator of the National Coordination Body (NCB) Hassan Abdulazim – and their delegations. The HR/VP and the Syrian opposition leaders had a long exchange on the possible political and institutional future of Syria, on post-conflict, reconciliation and on reconstruction, as part of the outreach Mogherini is conducting in the region in full coordination with the United Nation’s Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. The HR/VP and the leaders of the Syrian opposition also discussed the most recent developments in the Syrian crisis. They agreed it is urgent to end the fighting and engage in political talks focussed on a genuine political transition based on relevant UNSC Resolutions. They discussed the dire humanitarian situation and ongoing efforts to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to, and medical evacuations out of, Eastern Aleppo as well as to other besieged areas, as outlined in the EU humanitarian initiative. They agreed on the need for all parties to ensure full access to all those in need and to end all obstruction to the delivery of humanitarian aid. The HR/VP will continue her outreach on the post conflict set up in Syria tomorrow with her visit to the United Arab Emirates, on the occasion of the 7th annual Sir Bani Yas Forum hosted by the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs. The HR/VP will have bilateral meetings, including with UAE Foreign Minister...