The Berlin victims and our response to terror

The Berlin victims and our response to terror

Once again our region is hit by inconceivable violence. In Berlin, during a normal day in the holiday season, against our best youth: Fabrizia Di Lorenzo, an Italian girl killed in the attack, showed Europe’s best face – open, enterprising, fully European. In Ankara, with the killing of the Russian Ambassador, Andrei Karlov. Days earlier in Jordan, and at the Coptic church in Cairo. The only effective answer is a collective answer. A collective European answer, with the work we started towards a real Union of security and defence. But also, and foremost, a collective answer with our partners and our neighbours in our region.

This was my message as I chaired a meeting of Foreign Ministers from the European Union and the League of Arab States, in Cairo. Here are my opening remarks and my press conference after the meeting.

We talked about Syria, and the common work that we are trying to set up through a regional initiative launched by the European Union – to prepare a political transition, a real national reconciliation, and after that, the reconstruction of a devastated country. In the last few hours, I discussed about it with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, but also with several Arab Foreign Ministers I met in Cairo. And the work will go on in Brussels, in the coming weeks.

With our Arab partners we also discussed our commitment to relaunch the peace process between Israel and Palestine. This work will remain a priority for the European Union, including with our work in the Quartet together with Russia, the United States and the United Nations.

We keep working with all our regional partners. We work for Libya, after the liberation of Sirte (here is our statement). We work with the new Lebanese government, and on Tuesday I met with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. We work with Jordan, with which we signed a “compact” to create jobs and support Syrian refugees in the country, and a new Partnership Framework between Amman and the European Union. We work with Egypt: our dialogue is not always easy, but it is always necessary to raise all issues, including the most tough and delicate. And with Egypt we signed new cooperation agreements to finance meals for children in school, particularly for girls, in the neediest areas of the country.

My week had started with the Association council with another important partner, Ukraine. The European Union keep supporting the country’s reforms, for a better Ukraine, a stronger and more stable country, for a better future for all Ukrainians. Here is the press conference following the meeting.