I spent last week in four continents – travelling from Afghanistan to Latin America and back to Tunis and Brussels. I worked on areas of the world – near and far – that are a source of concern, but where we also see glimmers of hope: Central Asia, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Libya and the Middle East.
Central Asia was at the core of my talks with Pakistani leader, last Monday in Islamabad. The occasion for the trip was the “strategic dialogue” between the European Union and Pakistan, an essential country for Asia’s security. With President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shad Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa we talked about our bilateral relations, but also – and most extensively – about regional peace and security: we discussed at length what Europe and Pakistan can do to accompany peace negotiations in Afghanistan (press release here), and the recent tensions between India and Pakistan. And more: after the terrorist attack against the Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand, we agreed on the need for common work to stop the rise of Islamophobia. At the same time, we must work together against radicalisation and all forms of terrorism. Here is the press conference with Qureshi. Together with a group of Pakistani women from civil society organisations, I also discussed the crucial role of women and society in stabilisation and human growth.
From Islamabad to Kabul, to support the perspective of peace through a political process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. It is an essential moment to end the war in Afghanistan – after President Ashraf Ghani’s courageous offer to open peace talks with the Taliban. In my meetings with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and the head of the UN mission Tadamichi Yamamoto, I offered Europe’s full support to negotiations – with a five-point plan to accompany the process. Here is my press conference with Ghani.
From Asia to South America – in Quito, Ecuador, for the second meeting of the International Contact Group for Venezuela that we created together with Latin American and European countries. The Group is the only international initiative that is talking to all Venezuelan sides – with the shared goal to bring the country towards new elections, for a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis. Here is my speech opening the meeting, the final press conference and my declaration on the illegal decision to disqualify Juan Guaidó from holding public office. The trip to Ecuador was also the occasion to meet with President Lenin Moreno and Foreign Minister José Valencia Amores.
I spent the last two days in Tunis for the Summit of the Arab League. On Saturday we held a meeting of the Libya Quartet – the European Union is a member of it together with the United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union – a few weeks ahead of the Libyan National Conference in Ghadames (press conference here). Then, on Sunday, the Summit itself: Europe and the Arab world share an interest in cooperation to tackle the crises in our region, starting with Syria, Yemen, Libya and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also to make our societies more open and inclusive. Here is my speech. In Tunis I also met with Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, the King of Jordan Abdullah II and Iraq’s President Barham Salih (statement there).