I write at the end of a week very much focused on the situation in Israel and Palestine, after President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem.
We Europeans believe that Jerusalem must be the capital of two States, the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. And we believe that the only way to achieve this goal is via direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians (here is my press conference on Friday, and here the interview with Christiane Amanpour).
This is what I told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in our phone conversation on Wednesday, when I also invited him to work for all demonstrations to be peaceful (press release here). And Abbas will be our guest at the Foreign Affairs Council in January.
This is also what we discussed with Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman al Safadi, in Brussels on Friday. Jordan has a very special role when it comes to Jerusalem: King Abdullah is the custodian of the Holy Places, and a wise man. He can count on the European Union’s full and constant support. Here is my press conference with Safadi.
I will deliver the same message tomorrow – together with the 28 EU Foreign Ministers – to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will join us in Brussels. And with the same openness, I spoke to our American friends: I talked on the phone to Jared Kushner’s, the President’s Middle East advisor, and in person to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, here in Brussels.
With Tillerson we discussed all the main foreign policy issues: those the European Union and the United States have different opinions about, such as the fight against climate change and the United Nation’s role, and all those where we cooperate constantly – from Ukraine to Syria and North Korea. But also the nuclear deal with Iran, to make sure that all parties continue to implement it in full. Here is our press conference.
Then, on defence: together with Tillerson I took part in the NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting. We announced 35 more practical actions to strengthen the European Union’s cooperation with NATO: here is my press conference with Jens Stoltenberg.
Five other important things. On Tuesday morning I met with a group of non-governmental organisations, just before I addressed the EU-NGO Human Rights Forum. Here is my speech.
On Friday I chaired the Association Council between the European Union and Ukraine. After our Association Agreement with Ukraine has entered into force and we abolished visas for short trips between Ukraine and the EU, we are focusing on the issues the Ukrainian citizens’ care the most about: energy reform, health reform, the fight against corruption, on top of discussing the situation in eastern Ukraine. Here is my press conference with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.
Then our work with the Balkans. On Tuesday I met with Prime Minister Edi Rama, to discuss Albania’s path towards the European Union. This is what we told journalists ahead of our meeting. On Wednesday I hosted Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, to talk about reforms, but also about Skopje’s relations with the rest of the region. Here is the press release.
On Monday I chaired the first meeting of the EU-Canada Joint Ministerial Committee, together with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Canada and Europe see eye-to-eye on every dossier: we discussed how to strengthen our cooperation on a number of issues, from security to the situation in the Middle East. Here is our press conference.
Finally, on Friday we finalised negotiations for an economic partnership agreement with Japan – the biggest ever of its kind for the European Union. Because the answer to the problems of our time is not protectionism, but an even stronger work for a free and fair international trade. Press release here.