Today I write from Washington, for my second visit since the new administration’s inauguration. Here I will meet again Vice-presidente Mike Pence, after his visit to the European institutions in Brussels, I will take part in the Anti-Daesh Coalition ministerial meeting, I will open Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Conference, and I will meet more members of the administration and Congressmen. I will write about all this in the coming days.
The week that just ended was mostly dedicated to Africa, Libya and Syria.
I flew to Washington straight from Cairo, where we held the first meeting of a Quartet for Libya: the European Union has set it up together with the United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union. For the European Union, Libya is a priority – not only because of migration. Our political commitment aims first and foremost at supporting the Libyans as they work on a solution towards a peaceful and united country, in a process that is fully owned by Libyans themselves. The international community can and must accompany this process, preserving unity among regional and international actors. This is what we committed to doing together with the Arab Leagues Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the UN Envoy Martin Kobler and the African Union’s Representative Jakaya Kikwere. Here is the Quartet’s statement, here the video of our meeting with the press. We will meet again in a few weeks in Brussels, where the European Union will host the second meeting of the Quartet.
Libya – but also and particularly our common work to strengthen the partnership between Europe and Africa – was at the core of my visit to Addis Ababa this week, to meet the African Union’s new Commission and its President Moussa Faki, just two days after they were sworn in. The European Union is the first partner to meet this new leadership – yet another sign of the importance we both attach to our friendship, and the common work we do in so many fields of common interest: peace and security in the African continent, sustainable development, creating job opportunities for young people and for women, education – in particular for girls, – the prevention of radicalisation and the fight against terrorism, humanitarian aid, the fight against climate change, the management of migration flows, our cooperation on energy, infrastructure, digital economy, agriculture… The list could continue even further.
Next November, in Ivory Coast, the Summit of the European Union’s and the African Union’s Heads of State and government will confirm this strong and renewed partnership. Here is my press conference with Moussa Faki.
In Addis I also met with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the leaders of the opposition: we discussed the political dialogue that is going on in the country, but also the dramatic famine that has hit the whole region and the economic support put in place by the European Union (here is the press release on the meeting).
Three more important meetings on Africa: in Addis I met with the ministers of Igad, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development set up by six countries in East Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Gibuti and South Sudan.
Second, on Wednesday I had met in Brussels with Adama Barrow, the President of the Gambia: the European Union and the African Union’s engagement with his country was crucial to guarantee a peaceful and non-violent transition after ’s election (press release here).
Third, we had also discussed the European Union’s cooperation with the African Union at the informal meeting of EU development ministers on Wednesday. The European Union is the world’s largest humanitarian donor, and this makes us a strong and indispensable partner in all parts of the globe (here is the doorstep before the meeting).
Libya, Africa, Syria. All three topics were touched upon in Monday’s Association Council with Algeria, together with our bilateral relations with the country: here is my press conference with Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra.
On final topic to conclude this report on my week, which will also mark my work here in Washington: on Tuesday I presented in Strasbourg the new European Strategy for Syria. Our commitment spans from pur support to the Geneva negotiations among Syrians to the humanitarian aid inside Syria and its neighbouring countries, to provide Syrians with a shelter, but also with a job, a school for their children and the hope in a better future. In a few weeks time, on April 4th and 5th, we will host an international conference in Brussels to help Syrians build a future for their country – towards a united, democratic and inclusive Syria, a country finally at peace. Here is my press conference on the strategy for Syria.