One week, four continents

One week, four continents

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...
Practical contributions to peace

Practical contributions to peace

I write on my way to the United States – where I will speak about transatlantic relations at Harvard – in the wake of the sad day of President George H.W. Bush’s passing: here is what I said yesterday morning about him. My week has started in Brussels with the meeting with this year’s two Nobel Peace Prize winners: Denis Mukwege, the Congolese doctor who has devoted his entire life to healing women who have suffered from sexual violence, and Nadia Murad, the Yazidi girl who has become a symbol of the resistance against Daesh. I had already met them in Strasbourg when they received the Sakharov prize; this time, we welcomed them to the EU Development ministers’ meeting, on the occasion of the international day for the elimination of violence against women. And we decided to mobilise five million euros more in support to their initiatives. Here is the press conference with Denis and Nadia. On Wednesday I was in Geneva for the conference on peace in Afghanistan, organised by the United Nations. I put on the table five practical proposals on how the European union can support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, to finally end an endless war. And I discussed these proposals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Here is my speech at the conference. In Geneva I also met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (press release here), one day after I had met in Brussels with Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi, who leads the Iranian atomic energy agency. With both of them I discussed the work we are...