I write on my way back from Geneva, where I took part in the international conference on Cyprus, organised by the United Nations with the aim to re-unify the country after 44 years. The European Union has always supported and accompanied the negotiations, and we will keep doing so in this final phase. A positive outcome in a tough negotiation would be of the utmost importance. For Cypriots, all of them. For regional stability, and so, for Europe’s stability. For the positive message it would send, in such a difficult moment: the message that politics and diplomacy can deliver.
In Geneva I could also work on addressing the Syrian crisis. Yesterday I had a long meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in view of the talks to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, to consolidate the ceasefire. And today I met with the United Nations’ Envoy Staffan de Mistura, to organise the talks among the Syrian parties taking place in February and the conference we will hold next spring in Brussels on the future of Syria. I discussed both events with Antonio Guterres, the new Secretary General of the UN, too. In Geneva I updated him on the work we are doing in Brussels in these very days: a series of talks with regional powers to find some common ground on Syria’s future set-up, which will have to emerge from a difficult reconciliation process, and on reconstruction. We will also discuss this on Monday, in Brussels, at our Foreign Affairs Council with the 28 EU Foreign Ministers. Here is our press release on the talks taking place in Brussels.
The European Union’s role in Syria, Libya and in the region – but also as a global actor – was also discussed in Valletta, Malta, last Wednesday: the European Commission met with the Maltese government and parliament, inaugurating six months of Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This semester will focus on the Mediterranean and on migration. Malta hosted our first conference to work on migration together with our African partners, back in November 2015: this work is now leading to the first concrete results. The last UN General Assembly sponsored even more a global approach to this global issue. The Maltese Presidency will help us keep this historic phenomenon at the core of our European agenda in the coming six months.
I also discussed migration – as well as security, the situation in Libya and the partnership between the European Union and the African Union – on Tuesday with the President of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno. Here is the press release on our meeting.