I write on my way to the United States, where I will hold a first series of meetings with the new Administration, starting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. I will write about it in the coming days.
Today I would like to write about an important working day with the Maltese Presidency and our Libyan and African partners. The morning started with a meeting to take stock of the work on migration we are doing together – Europe, Africa, international organisations such as the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organisation for Migration (IOM) – after the Valletta summit of November 2015: we are dismantling the traffickers’ networks, saving lives, investing in local development. This work is delivering the first results, and we will keep on this path. Cooperation, partnership, respect: this is the European way to manage migration. In a world that seems obsessed with the illusion of walls, this work becomes ever more important. Here is the video of my speech today in Malta.
Cooperation, partnership and respect brought me aboard the San Giorgio ship today: together with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, we delivered diplomas to a first group of Libyan coastguards, who received training from our EU Operation Sophia’s personnel. In one year Operation Sophia has saved over 33,000 people in international waters, arrested over one hundred suspected traffickers, seized 400 vessels. Now, training the Libyan coastguard, we will strengthen our partners’ capabilities to do the same in Libya’s territorial waters and on the coast. Together with the UN agencies, we also put a particular emphasis on human rights. Here is the video of my speech on deck of San Giorgio, here the press conference.
Our work with Libya isn’t focusing on migration only: peace, security, development, and a political process to unify the country – all these issues are central to our engagement with the country. We discussed about it on Monday in Brussels, with the Twenty-eight Foreign Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council (here are the Council conclusions on Libya). At the Council we also worked on the situation in Ukraine and on the Middle East Peace Process (here is my statement on the Israeli decision to regularise illegal outposts on Palestinian land). Here are the videos of my press conferences before and after the Council.
A few other little big things from this week: the solution of the Mitrovica bridge issue (after all the work we have done to mediate between the sides); my meeting with the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Erzegovina, Igor Crnadak (my stamenent is here); the work with Morocco to relaunch our bilateral relations and regional cooperation; the visit of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the new President of Moldova Igor Dodon, to discuss how to strengthen our partnership; the visit of a Colombian boy and girl, who have managed to quit the Farc’s guerilla and are now looking at the future – their own and their country’s future – with hope in peace and reconciliation.