UN General Assembly, day 5: setbacks and successes

UN General Assembly, day 5: setbacks and successes

I write at the end of a very intense week at the United Nations, which I concluded yesterday in New York presenting the European Union’s Global Strategy at Columbia University (here is the video of my speech there). During these days in New York we had moments of gratification, and moments of deep frustration. In just a few hours, I could measure the distance between the successes and the setbacks of multilateral diplomacy. On Thursday, for instance, I chaired the ministerial meeting with the seven countries who reached last year’s deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Together with Javad Zarif, John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov and the ministers of China, Germany, France and Great Britain, we concurred that the implementation of the deal is well on track, as verified by the IAEA in three successive reports (here is the press conference at the end of the meeting). It is the sign not only that diplomacy works, but also that it can produce results that stand the test of time. Then, just minutes later, together with the same ministers and with others, we went through one of the most frustrating and sad pages of our work on Syria: the International Syria Support Group’s meeting couldn’t find an agreement on a cessation of hostilities. The Iran deal taught us something: even the most difficult goals can be reached through determination and perseverance. So, even in the toughest moments, our work goes on – and today I’m in Boston to search new pathways, for Syria and for the other regional conflicts, together with Kerry and the other ministers of the “Quint” (Germany, France, Britain and Italy). Our work goes on, with unity...
Back from Washington (with some good news from Serbia and Albania)

Back from Washington (with some good news from Serbia and Albania)

I just got back from Washington, D.C., where I took part in the Global Coalition against Daesh’ ministerial meeting, gathered by John Kerry and Ashton Carter. In D.C. the European Union announced an extra 200 million euros in humanitarian aid to Iraq, while our work goes on in the areas liberated from Daesh, to let the Iraqis go back to their homes, to close the channels for terrorist financing, to strengthen the institutions of Iraq. It is an essential work, which must go hand in hand with the military operations. Hard and soft power are increasingly tied to one another. Last night I spoke about this – among other things – at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where I presented the new EU Global Strategy. Here is the video of our conversation, and here is my interview with PBS on the situation in Turkey (the statement on the state of emergency is here) and on the US presidential election. I shall finish on a positive note, some good news coming from Albania and Serbia. Yesterday the Albanian parliament approved at unanimity an important reform of its justice sector. I had spoken about this in Tirana, on the floor of the parliament, just a few months ago: the reform will be an important tool towards a more independent and transparent justice, and to fight corruption more effectively (here is our statement). Only two days before, we had opened two new justice-related chapters in Serbia’s negotiation for entering the EU (and here is the press review following my meeting on Tuesday with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić). It feels like all good news are coming from the Balkans, these...
An important Foreign Affairs Council. Then London, for Syria

An important Foreign Affairs Council. Then London, for Syria

I am writing from London, where I attended the meeting on Syria with the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the “Quint” (United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany) and the United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura. Tomorrow morning I’ll be back in Brussels, for the weekly meeting of the Commission and to meet Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. Before London, I was in Brussels again to gather the EU Foreign Affairs Council: we were joined by John Kerry, and it was the first time ever for a US Secretary of State (here is our joint press conference). Together with Kerry, and then with the 28 Member States, we discussed Turkey at length. The night of the attempted coup d’état, our European institutions were the first to react – condemning the coup and asking to respect the democratic institutions of the country. We are just as clear today, in demanding the full respect of the rule of law, of human rights and of fundamental liberties. I said it here, and here are yesterday’s Council conclusions on Turkey. The plenary meeting with the 28 Ministers began with a minute of silence for the victims of Nice: all Member States confirmed their will to support France against terrorism, with all our solidarity. We also discussed the Global Strategy for European foreign and security policy that I presented last month, to turn the Strategy into shared common actions. We then moved to Venezuela (Council conclusions here), Afghanistan, and the adoption of our new Strategy on China, the first in over ten years. It was also the first Council for Boris Johnson, the new British Foreign Minister, with whom...