Syria, Libya, and our Eastern partners: an important Foreign Affairs Council

Syria, Libya, and our Eastern partners: an important Foreign Affairs Council

Today I write as I embark for my sixth visit to Latin America, ready to touch down in Mexico and Colombia, after a particularly important EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting yesterday in Brussels. In the first part of the day we met with our partners in Eastern Europe: we discussed how to support reforms, peace and security in our region together with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

We then worked on our common policy for Syria, Iraq and the fight against Daesh. Our decision was to increase our European Union’s engagement in the political process led by Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations’ Special Envoy, towards a transition in Syria. We are already working in the country, on the ground, as the first donor for humanitarian aid. But we are also playing a crucial role in the International Syria Support Group, working with the parties in Brussels and Geneva. In fact, right before yesterday’s Council, I met with the representatives on the opposition Syrian National Coalition. The political process needs to start as soon as possible, to move towards peace and defeat Daesh. Each and every day we see more victims falling in this horrific war, and more people putting their own life at risk in the hands of human traffickers, as they seek refuge from the conflict.

The global issue of migration took the lion’s share of yesterday’s discussion. First of all, we answered to the Libyan Prime Minister’s request to help train the Libyan coastguard (I had met again with Fayez al Serraj last week in Vienna). Then, together with all 28 Foreign Ministers we decided to strengthen our common work with the countries of origin and transit of migrants: on June 7th I will present a joint communication on migration with my colleague Frans Timmermans, which we will then bring to the European Council at the end of June.

Here is the video of my press conference at the end of the Foreign Affairs Council, here the meeting’s conclusions.