UN General Assembly, day 4: between Syria and Palestine, Afghanistan and the Balkans

UN General Assembly, day 4: between Syria and Palestine, Afghanistan and the Balkans

I write after another full day at the United Nations, in a General Assembly that is dealing with the great global issue of migrants and refugees, while working to address the crises that surround Europe. Starting with Syria. Today another meeting of the International Syria Support Group is in the agenda, and yesterday we worked to prepare the event. I spoke at length about Syria with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov (here is my statement on the meeting), and with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif. With him I also prepared the ministerial meeting I will chair today, to take stock of the implementation of the nuclear deal we reached a year ago together with the US, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany (here is the statement). The most ancient outstanding issue of the Middle East, the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, was at the centre of a long meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In the coming days we will gather the Middle East Quartet – where the European Union sits together with the United Nations, the United States and Russia – to shake life back into the two-State perspective, and to encourage concrete steps in this direction. Then Afghanistan, which is still struggling to find stability after decades of war. Afghanistan will be the focus of a big conference we are organising in Brussels in the first days of October: this is what I discussed yesterday with Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani. But the UN General Assembly is also the opportunity to tackle great global issues – such as the fight against terrorism and radicalisation, which we discussed at the...
UN General Assembly, day 2: At the Summit on migrations and the Clinton Global Initiative

UN General Assembly, day 2: At the Summit on migrations and the Clinton Global Initiative

The great migrations the world is experiencing – the whole world, not just Europe – have been the common thread of this second day at the United Nations. In the morning, in the General Assembly’s hall, the summit on refugees and migrants has kicked off. The aim is to build a global alliance, a global compact to share responsibility. It is a matter of solidarity – and of foresight, because this complex and global phenomenon can only be dealt with through real global partnerships. It is a principle we are trying hard to pass inside Europe, with too much resistance from too many parts of our continent. The same principle we are also applying in full in our external policies on migration, in particular with Africa and the countries of origin of migrants. We rely on shared responsibilities and cooperation, not simply among countries but with all sectors of our societies. For this reason, the European Union is working to set up new “migration compacts”, packages of measures agreed with five African countries. And for this reason we launched just a few days ago an Investment plan for Africa and the Mediterranean, to mobilise some 44 billion euros – an unprecedented initiative. I had the opportunity to describe all the European Union is doing during a morning debate with Madeleine Albright, Bono Vox, General John Allen and the Nigerian Environment Minister Amina Mohammed. The debate was organised by the Clinton Foundation in the margins of the UN General Assembly: here is the video of the initiative. Later on, inside the EU Delegation here in New York, we gathered ministers, NGOs, civil society representatives from...
In Nigeria. Security, investments and hope for Africa

In Nigeria. Security, investments and hope for Africa

Just got back from Abuja, Nigeria, for my sixth trip to Africa in a year. I was at the Regional Security Forum with the Presidents of the Lake Chad area: I brought with me Europe’s contribution and support to eradicate Boko Haram’s violence, as 50 million euros have just been allocated to the Multinational Joint Task Force against the terrorist group. And beyond the fight against terror, we are working with them to promote economic development, to deal with the effects of climate change, to fight corruption, to create new job opportunities especially for young people, to invest of infrastructure, on public services, on education. Ultimately this is the real way to defeat the terrorist madness: invest in education, build up a better future, make people and communities stronger. Immunise Africa against terrorism. This is also the best, smartest and most effective way to deal with migration. For this very reason we are financing new projects worth over 700 million euros, with the Trust Fund for Africa we launched last December. The work is in progress, and goes beyond the old logic of “aid:” we now invest as partners. We work with governments, of course, and with the international organisations, but also with local authorities and with civil society organisations. My meeting with the #BringBackOurGirls campaign (pictured above) was the most moving moment during my trip to Nigeria. I had the opportunity to listen to the pain of the girls’ families, and to their determination to find the girls and bring them back home. But I saw an even stronger desire to provide all children of their communities, of this country and of Africa with a life...