A force for peace, from the Balkans to Afghanistan

A force for peace, from the Balkans to Afghanistan

I have spent this week travelling between Central Asia, the Balkans and Brussels. First I was in Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, to open the international conference for peace in Afghanistan together with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Uzbekistan’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev. It was an important moment, to gather international support for President Ghani’s proposal for negotiations between his government and the Taliban. I announced the European Union’s readiness to accompany this process with all our power – political, diplomatic and economic – to help rebuild the fabric of the Afghan society, its democracy, and to strengthen cooperation and connectivity between Afghanistan and its neighbours. Here is my speech at the opening of the Conference. The Tashkent Conference was also the opportunity to meet bilaterally with President Ghani (here is the press release) and President Mirziyoyev, but also with India’s Foreign Minister MJ Akbar, Pakistan’s Muhammad Asif, and the five Central Asian Foreign Ministers: with them, we worked to push forward the decision we took in our meeting in Samarkand at the end of last year. Press release here. From Uzbekistan to Belgrade, to discuss with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic about the future of the dialogue with Pristina – facilitated by the European Union – after a very serious episode of tension happened in Kosovo last Monday. Here is our joint statement. Back to Brussels, on Wednesday: together with the European Commission we approved a plan to remove obstacles – both physical and bureaucratic – that make it difficult for European militaries to move within our continent. This is part of the work we have carried on over the last two years towards a Europe of defence. Press release here. In Brussels I also had the pleasure to receive Finland’s...

Joint press release with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, met tonight in Belgrade to discuss, in an open, frank and substantial way, the latest developments and the future of the EU-facilitated Dialogue for normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. In the conversation the High Representative deplored yesterday’s events in Kosovo: What happened yesterday must not happen again. The European Union expects calm, wisdom, restraint and leadership to prevail. The President and the High Representative agreed to find new ways to continue working and resolving peacefully issues between Belgrade and Pristina. They agreed it is in the national and state interest of Serbia to preserve stability, peace and to progress on the EU...

Federica Mogherini holds meeting with the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani

Today, in the margins of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan: “Peace process, security cooperation and regional connectivity”, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, met with the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani. The High Representative stressed the European Union’s full support for the comprehensive and unprecedented offer of peace to the Taliban made by President Ghani at February’s Kabul Process meeting. The European Union is ready to accompany this Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. It is time for all – Afghanistan, the international community, including regional partners, and the Taliban – to make use of this window of opportunity and take concrete steps towards a brighter, peaceful, and prosperous future for all Afghans and the wider region. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and President Ghani discussed ways in which the EU may be able to further support Afghanistan’s peace efforts, following the EU-organised dedicated meeting among international and regional stakeholders in the margins of the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October 2016, the EU’s support to the implementation of the peace deal agreed with Hezb-e-Islami, and the EU’s substantial financial and political support for Afghanistan’s social and economic development and regional connectivity. The High Representative/Vice-President and the President looked ahead to the UN-hosted ministerial conference on Afghanistan, to be held in November in Geneva as an important opportunity to review progress made by the Afghan government and the international community as regards the political and economic reforms committed to at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan. The discussions also touched upon the upcoming parliamentary elections and presidential elections and...
On my way to Central Asia, for peace in Afghanistan

On my way to Central Asia, for peace in Afghanistan

I write on my way to Tashkent – in Central Asia, Uzbekistan – where together with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani I will open an international conference to help start a peace process in Afghanistan. Last week began with the Council of EU Foreign Ministers – where we worked on Syria, North Korea, the nuclear deal with Iran, Ukraine and our reaction to the Salisbury attack. Here is what I told journalists before the Foreign Affairs Council, and here the final press conference. This is the press point with the Republic of Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha: she was our guest at the Council to discuss how the European Union can keep supporting and accompanying diplomacy in the Korean peninsula. At the Council we were also joined by Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria: we prepared the second Brussels conference on Syria, that we will host in exactly one month. We will gather the international community to tackle the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in the country, mobilising resources to finance aid, but also to try and relaunch the peace talks in Geneva and put an end to the war. I also discussed Syria with the International Red Cross’ Peter Maurer, on Wednesday. With the EU Foreign Ministers we also discussed our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran – a few days after the signatories to the deal once again confirmed, from Vienna, that Iran is implementing all its commitments. This was also certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, with ten reports: and on Tuesday, in Brussels, I talked about this with Yukiya Amano, the Agency’s Director. More on the Middle East: on...