From Washington to Samarkand

From Washington to Samarkand

I write on my way back from Central Asia: in Kyrgyzstan first, for a bilateral visit, then in Uzbekistan, in Samarkand, for the annual meeting between the European Union and the Foreign Minister of five Central Asian countries. For centuries Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have been a crossroads between East and West. They still are. For our economies, as a strategic connection for international trade on the old Silk Road, and for energy. But also for our security, from Afghanistan to the fight against terrorism and the prevention of radicalisation. These countries increasingly look at Europe not only as their first market and donor, but also as a strong and reliable political partner. In Samarkand we decided to strengthen our partnership for the years to come. The European Union has encouraged a lot, and continues to encourage, the reform process that has started in all five countries, at different speeds – be it economic reform or on justice, the rule of law and civil rights. We discussed how to move forward this path towards reforms and change in all my bilateral meetings: in Bishkek with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, President-elect Sooronbay Jeenbekov and Prime Minister Sapar Isakov; in Samarkand with the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov, of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov, of Kyrgyzstan Erlan Abdyldayev, of Tajikistan Sirodjidin Aslov, and of Turkmenistan Raşit Meredow. Here is my speech in Samarkand and the final press conference. My visit to Samarkand was also the opportunity to meet again with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to talk about the nuclear deal. The European Union is determined to make sure everyone implements the agreement, which is working as certified eight times by the International Atomic Energy...

Renegotiation of the Iran deal is not an option

Op-ed published on The Washington Post’s “World Post”. Original article here President Donald Trump’s decision not to certify the Iran nuclear deal has consequences only in the U.S. — for the moment. But American lawmakers are now in a crucial position: their next moves will have a significant impact on the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe, the Middle East and the rest of the world. One thing is clear: renegotiation is not an option. I say this out of realism and experience. It took us 12 years to agree on extremely dense and complex technical details in a process that required all outstanding issues to be tackled in parallel. Unilaterally reopening discussions on this or that paragraph is simply impossible. This is a matter of principles and credibility. The Iran deal is endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations Security Council, and we — both in Europe and in America — have always believed in the universal respect of international norms as a fundamental pillar of the international system. With tensions running high around North Korea’s nuclear program, the world cannot afford another nuclear crisis. The nuclear agreement with Iran is working: it has ensured that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain exclusively peaceful. Everyone who cares about our common security — Europe, the U.S., and friends and partners in the Middle East — should work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran. The deal is not based on trust. It is based on the most intrusive monitoring regime ever set up in history. The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy...