Korea, Syria, Libya: three meetings on the road to peace

I write on my way to Cairo: together with the Arab League, the African Union and the United Nations I will take part in a meeting of the Libya Quartet – which we prepared last Thursday in Brussels with UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salame. Last week was intense and important. First and foremost, because of the historic meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas: it was a sign that it is always possible to start walking on the road to peace, even after over sixty years of conflict, if one has the courage of dialogue and diplomacy. I wrote about this here. And here is the press release on my meeting last Wednesday with Japan’s Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno. But it was also the week of the second Brussels Conference on the future of Syria, which I chaired together with the United Nations. In Brussels we mobilised over four billion dollars for 2018, to support Syrians inside and outside their country. And even more importantly, we worked to help the United Nations relaunch the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, and find a political solution to end the war. We gave voice to the Syrian civil society: they showed us that they can leave aside their differences – political, ethnic and social – to walk on the path towards peace and reconciliation. And we brought to the same table all the regional and international actors – from Saudi Arabia to Iran, from Turkey to Russia and the United States. We decided to open the conference listening to the words of Farah, a Syrian girl who lives in a camp in Jordan and dreams to become a teacher. It...
Working to preserve the deal with Iran

Working to preserve the deal with Iran

I write after coming back from Bulgaria, where together with the whole College of European Commissioners we inaugurated the Bulgarian semester of Presidency of the European Union. The next six months will be particularly important for our relations with the Balkans: our goal remains to consolidate our six partners’ path  towards the EU, so it becomes an irreversible process. These were intense days, especially because of our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran. On Thursday I chaired a meeting in Brussels with the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with the Foreign Ministers of the three European countries that negotiated the deal (Jean-Yves Le Drian for France, Boris Johnson for Britain, and Sigmar Gabriel for Germany). The deal is working, the International Atomic Energy Agency has certified it nine times already, and it is crucial for the security of Europe and the world. It is positive that yesterday President Donald Trump confirmed that the United States will respect their commitments, extending the waiver on nuclear-related sanctions foreseen by the deal. Our meeting in Brussels was also the opportunity to discuss other themes that are not related to the nuclear deal, as the last weeks’ protests in Iran, the tensions in the Middle East and Iran’s ballistic missiles program. There are issues we Europeans are concerned about, which we are committed to tackling with even greater determination, outside the scope of the nuclear deal: in fact, the deal was negotiated on the basis on a UN mandate that limited its scope very clearly. Here is the press conference with Le Drian, Johnson and Gabriel dopo l’incontro. For the European Union, the Middle East is a strategic...
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...