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...
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...
Back from Iran and South-East Asia

Back from Iran and South-East Asia

I write after coming back from a visit to Asia, touching down in Teheran and then in Manila. In Iran I attended the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani’s second term, in my capacity as chair of the Joint Commission overlooking and guaranteeing the full implementation of the deal on Iran’s nuclear program. It was an opportunity to talk again to Rouhani, to Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and to the Supreme Leader’s foreign policy advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, in a moment when it is essential that all parties restate their determination to fully implement the deal (here is the press release on my visit to Iran). This is what I also discussed with the Foreign Ministers of three countries that signed the Iran deal two years ago, who were in Manila this week for the ASEAN Regional Forum: Rex Tillerson for the United States, Sergei Lavrov for the Russian Federation, and Wang Yi for China. With them, as well as with Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, we also discussed our bilateral ties, and our common engagement on some of today’s international priorities, from Syria to the Middle East, from Libya to Ukraine. Here is the press release. With them and with more Asian partners – starting with the Republic of Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha – we discussed the situation with North Korea and a common response to avoid a dangerous escalation. Here is the press release. In Manila I also chaired the ministerial meeting between the European Union and ASEAN, in the fortieth anniversary of our relations (here is my speech at the anniversary’s celebrations, here the opening session of our ministerial). Together we agreed on the shared initiatives we will push forward over the...
In the far North, a global crossroads

In the far North, a global crossroads

I write after a week spent between Brussels and the far north of Europe. And my visits to Norway and Finland were also an opportunity to meet several partner from more distant parts of the world. On Tuesday I was at the Oslo Forum, where I discussed the future of dialogue, multilateralism and the common work to stabilise our region, together with Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende. Here is the video from the opening session of the Forum with the Foreign Ministers of Iran, Javad Zarif, of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, and John Kerry; and here is our joint press conference. The visit to Oslo was an important opportunity to meet Javad Zarif, and to discuss with him our bilateral relations after the re-election of President Rouhani, the situation in the region – particularly the Syrian crisis – and the implementation of the nuclear deal: the International Atomic Agency has just monitored and certified again the full respect of the agreement. The deal is working, it is making our region and the world safer: so the European Union will continue to guarantee its full implementation, by all parties. From the Gulf to Latin America: in Oslo I also met for the first time with a delegation of the FARC: we discussed the implementation of the peace deal in Colombia and the European support to reconciliation and economic recovery in the country. But perhaps the most important and moving part of my trip to Norway was the visit to Utoya. On this island, six years ago, tens of young men and women were murdered by the killing spree of a far-right extremist. Utoya was a place for...