A force for peace, from the Balkans to Afghanistan

A force for peace, from the Balkans to Afghanistan

I have spent this week travelling between Central Asia, the Balkans and Brussels. First I was in Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, to open the international conference for peace in Afghanistan together with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Uzbekistan’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev. It was an important moment, to gather international support for President Ghani’s proposal for negotiations between his government and the Taliban. I announced the European Union’s readiness to accompany this process with all our power – political, diplomatic and economic – to help rebuild the fabric of the Afghan society, its democracy, and to strengthen cooperation and connectivity between Afghanistan and its neighbours. Here is my speech at the opening of the Conference. The Tashkent Conference was also the opportunity to meet bilaterally with President Ghani (here is the press release) and President Mirziyoyev, but also with India’s Foreign Minister MJ Akbar, Pakistan’s Muhammad Asif, and the five Central Asian Foreign Ministers: with them, we worked to push forward the decision we took in our meeting in Samarkand at the end of last year. Press release here. From Uzbekistan to Belgrade, to discuss with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic about the future of the dialogue with Pristina – facilitated by the European Union – after a very serious episode of tension happened in Kosovo last Monday. Here is our joint statement. Back to Brussels, on Wednesday: together with the European Commission we approved a plan to remove obstacles – both physical and bureaucratic – that make it difficult for European militaries to move within our continent. This is part of the work we have carried on over the last two years towards a Europe of defence. Press release here. In Brussels I also had the pleasure to receive Finland’s...

Federica Mogherini holds meeting with the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani

Today, in the margins of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan: “Peace process, security cooperation and regional connectivity”, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, met with the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani. The High Representative stressed the European Union’s full support for the comprehensive and unprecedented offer of peace to the Taliban made by President Ghani at February’s Kabul Process meeting. The European Union is ready to accompany this Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. It is time for all – Afghanistan, the international community, including regional partners, and the Taliban – to make use of this window of opportunity and take concrete steps towards a brighter, peaceful, and prosperous future for all Afghans and the wider region. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and President Ghani discussed ways in which the EU may be able to further support Afghanistan’s peace efforts, following the EU-organised dedicated meeting among international and regional stakeholders in the margins of the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October 2016, the EU’s support to the implementation of the peace deal agreed with Hezb-e-Islami, and the EU’s substantial financial and political support for Afghanistan’s social and economic development and regional connectivity. The High Representative/Vice-President and the President looked ahead to the UN-hosted ministerial conference on Afghanistan, to be held in November in Geneva as an important opportunity to review progress made by the Afghan government and the international community as regards the political and economic reforms committed to at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan. The discussions also touched upon the upcoming parliamentary elections and presidential elections and...
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...
The Balkans’ path towards the European Union

The Balkans’ path towards the European Union

I write after a week dedicated mostly to the Balkans, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and Latin America. Last Tuesday in Strasbourg, we presented – as European Commission – our Strategy to support the path towards the European Union of our six Balkan partners. Because the Balkans are part of our continent, of our history, and hold a place in the future of our Union. Here is the text of the Strategy, here is the press conference, and here is my remarks in the European Parliament’s plenary session. Last week, in Brussels, I had also met the three members of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Presidency – Dragan Čović, Mladen Ivanić and Bakir Izetbegović. Here is the press release. At the plenary in Strasbourg we also discussed our support to the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA, here is my speech), after last week I had gathered in Brussels the group of international donors to Palestine. For the first time after the recent tensions, we all sat around the same table – with the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also with the United States and our Arab partners. Here is the  press conference after the meeting. On the sides of the meeting I had the opportunity to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Foreign Minister Riyad al Maliki, the Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi, the US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt, the Foreign Ministers of Jordan, Ayman al Safadi, of Egyot, Sameh Shoukri, of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and of Norway, Ine Eriksen Søreide, and UNRWA’s General Commissioner Pierre Krähenbühl. Last week had started with a meeting with MERCOSUR ministers: we pushed forward...