At the United Nations’ General Assembly

At the United Nations’ General Assembly

I write after coming back from New York, where just like every year I took part in the the United Nations’ General Assembly ministerial week. It is a moment to show the European Union’s practical support to the multilateral system and the United Nations – the essential pivot towards peaceful solutions to today’s crises. It was an intense week, difficult at times, with many important achievements but also some tough moments. Starting with the tensions between the United States and Iran. Defending Iran deal On Wednesday night I chaired the meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Iran and the six countries that, two years ago, negotiated the deal on Iran’s nuclear program – the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and the UK. Together we confirmed that Iran is fulfilling the agreements, as the International Atomic Energy Agency certified eight times. It is up to the IAEA to verify that all nuclear commitments are being implemented: this is what the deal states, together with a Resolution by the UN Security Council. For this reason, the deal belongs to the whole world, not just to one or two countries, and the European Union will do everything in our power to guarantee the deal is fully implemented by all. This is the message I delivered in my meetings with the Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov. Here is my press conference on Iran, here my interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. For global non-proliferation In a moment when tension with North Korea continue, it would make no sense to dismantle a non-proliferation deal that is working...
United and determined

United and determined

I write after coming back from Tallinn, where I chaired the meeting of the European Union’s Foreign and Defence Ministers – at the end of a difficult week of international tensions, after the latest North Korean nuclear test. We managed to respond to these tensions with unity and determination, and with some important decisions – which I explain here. With the Foreign Minister we addressed the crisis in Venezuela, with a commitment to keep on with our contacts to help bring the crisis to an end – particularly our contacts with Latin-American partners. We also discussed the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and decided to start a review of the modalities of our engagement on the ground: we do not want to reduce our engagement, but on the contrary to make it more effective towards the only realistic goal to end the conflict, that is, a two-state solution. Another important point on our agenda, which we discussed with the Ministers of the five candidate countries to EU membership: the prevention of radicalisation and the fight against terrorism. Here is the press conference after the Foreign Ministers’ meeting, and here is my discussion with members of Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees from all around Europe to discuss the priorities of our common foreign and security policy. Because in Tallinn, over the last two days, we also carried on our work on the European common security and defence. First, with an exercise on cyber-security, together (for the first time) with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; and then with some important decisions on strengthening our common European commitment in two essential regions for us: the Sahel and the Horn of...
Back from Kuwait

Back from Kuwait

I write after coming back from Kuwait, where I brought the European Union’s support to the mediation carried on by the Emir, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to end the crisis between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, on one side, and Qatar on the other. In my meetings with the Emir, with Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah and the Emir’s emissary, Mohammad Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, we agreed on the need to end the crisis through dialogue as soon as possible, and we discussed how the European Union can further support this goal. This is something I will also discuss tonight and tomorrow in Brussels with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri. In Kuwait I also talked about our common work to support the reconstruction of the Iraqi areas liberated from Daesh, about regional crises starting with Syria, and about our bilateral ties. Here is the press release on the visit. The visit to Kuwait concluded a week that I had spent in Europe, in Brussels, Zagreb and Athens. In Athens, with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, we discussed the European Union’s support to Greece after the quake in Kos, but also how to relaunch the Cyprus peace talks, and our relations with Turkey, ahead of the EU-Turkey dialogue we will hold in Brussels this week. Here is the video of my meeting with Tsipras. In Zabgreb – during my meetings with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burićand Defence Minister Damir Krstičević – we mostly dealt with the situation in the Balkans, to keep the region advancing on its path towards the European Union, and with European defence. Here...

Speech at the Hessian Peace Prize award ceremony

Check against delivery I would like to start by thanking you, Mr President [Mr Norbert Kartmann, President of the Hessian Parliament], Madam Minister [Ms Lucia Puttrich, Minister of European and Federal Affairs of the State of Hessen], all of you for your kind words, but most of all for this honour. I am also very thankful that you have come to Brussels for this ceremony – as you have highlighted this is the first time that this happens and I am very much aware of the fact that it does is not only a courtesy to myself, which I appreciate, but I know that this is first and foremost a tribute to the European Union, as you said Madam Minister, as a force for peace in our very difficult times. Two years after the deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] was signed, we see and we breathe a very different atmosphere in global affairs and in these days receiving this prize is quite significant. It is not always easy to find or to build the same spirit of collective responsibility that made the Iran deal possible. The work to achieve win-win solutions requires patience, perseverance, as you said, sometimes even stubbornness and a lot, a lot of strength. Many are tempted in these times to seek unilateral action, shortcut. Everyone seems to want to show their strength, instead of showing their wisdom. As if they were not the same. As if wisdom was not the biggest strength you can show, the most difficult to achieve, the most difficult to preserve and also the most difficult to share....