On my way to Central Asia, for peace in Afghanistan

On my way to Central Asia, for peace in Afghanistan

I write on my way to Tashkent – in Central Asia, Uzbekistan – where together with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani I will open an international conference to help start a peace process in Afghanistan.

Last week began with the Council of EU Foreign Ministers – where we worked on Syria, North Korea, the nuclear deal with Iran, Ukraine and our reaction to the Salisbury attack. Here is what I told journalists before the Foreign Affairs Council, and here the final press conference. This is the press point with the Republic of Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha: she was our guest at the Council to discuss how the European Union can keep supporting and accompanying diplomacy in the Korean peninsula.

At the Council we were also joined by Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria: we prepared the second Brussels conference on Syria, that we will host in exactly one month. We will gather the international community to tackle the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in the country, mobilising resources to finance aid, but also to try and relaunch the peace talks in Geneva and put an end to the war. I also discussed Syria with the International Red Cross’ Peter Maurer, on Wednesday.

With the EU Foreign Ministers we also discussed our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran – a few days after the signatories to the deal once again confirmed, from Vienna, that Iran is implementing all its commitments. This was also certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, with ten reports: and on Tuesday, in Brussels, I talked about this with Yukiya Amano, the Agency’s Director.

More on the Middle East: on Tuesday, with Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide, I hosted the meeting of international donors for Palestine – the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. It is the second time we gather the Committee in just a few weeks, to address a very difficult situation both in humanitarian and political terms. Here is our press conference.

Finally, I dedicated a big part of last week to the Balkans. We discussed the issue with the 28 heads of State and government at the European Council, on Thursday and Friday – here is what I told the press at the Council. On Tuesday, at the European Parliament, I was with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati: with them, and with Antonio Tajani and David Sassoli, we discussed how to move forward in the coming months on Albania’s path towards membership of the European Union. Here is my speech on Albania.

Two other important Balkan things from last week: Kosovo’s Parliament finally ratified the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro (press release here). And on Friday I hosted the Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, to push forward the work to normalise relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Press release here.