Middle East and Korea: how to move beyond a tough beginning of 2016

Middle East and Korea: how to move beyond a tough beginning of 2016

The new year has had a rough start, as tension keeps growing between Saudi Arabia and Iran after the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, amongst many others. It is a dangerous escalation, in a region torn by too many conflicts already. These conflicts can only be settled if regional players make an effort to cooperate: they are divided on everything, but they are called to make stability and collective security (that is also their own security) prevail on narrow national approaches. It is hard, I know. But these are no times for easy solutions, and delusive shortcuts. Increased tensions between the Saudis and the Iranians would have an extremely negative impact on too many, too important theatres: from Lebanon to Iraq, from Yemen to Syria. And well beyond the Middle East, tensions could spread to Muslim communities all around the world. Together with our partners, in the last few days and hours, we have tried to convey to all the region’s main actors a message of calm and rationality. The nuclear test in North Korea is only apparently more remote from us and our own security: it is a clear violation of the country’s international obligations, and a serious threat to peace in north-east Asia and for the whole international community. I discussed it today with the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Korea and of Japan, to share information and analyses, and most importantly to coordinate our reaction at the United Nations and in the G7 – which is chaired by Japan this year and will hold its next meeting in the very city of...

Press release on the phone call between Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign minister, Javad Zarif

This morning, the HR/VP Federica Mogherini, had a phone call with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, after the violences that followed the execution in Saudi Arabia of Sheikh Nimr al Nimr. During the long conversation, HRVP Mogherini was informed of the incident at the Saudi embassy and of the steps taken by the Iranian authorities to defuse the tensions and protect the Saudi diplomats. No effort should be spared by all parties to keep the situation under control and to avoid sectarian tensions to escalate, they agreed. The security and stability of the whole Region, that is already facing great threats, is at stake, underlined the HR/VP Federica Mogherini. The international community and the main regional actors are actively working together to support a political solution for the crisis in Syria and to join forces against terrorists groups, and these efforts should not be jeopardized by new instability. The HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif also discussed the ongoing work towards implementation day and took stock of the important progress made so...

Press release on the phone conversation between Federica Mogherini and the Saudi Foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir

The HR/VP Federica Mogherini, had this afternoon, a phone call with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, following the executions inflicted yesterday in Saudi Arabia, including that of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. During the conversation, the HR/VP Mogherini reiterated the opposition of the European Union to the death penalty in all circumstances. She expressed her concern for the risk of an escalation of sectarian violence in the Muslim world. She also deplored the attack of the Saudi embassy  which took place yesterday in Teheran. The HR/VP Federica Mogherini  called to avoid any action that could feed violence in the region and beyond. She underlined that all regional powers are expected to act responsibly in this already very volatile...

Statement of Federica Mogherini on the executions in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia carried out 47 executions earlier today. The EU reiterates its strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, and in particular in cases of mass executions. The specific case of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr raises serious concerns regarding freedom of expression and the respect of basic civil and political rights, to be safeguarded in all cases, also in the framework of the fight against terrorism. This case has also the potential of enflaming further the sectarian tensions that already bring so much damage to the entire region, with dangerous consequences. The EU calls on the Saudi authorities to promote reconciliation between the different communities in the Kingdom, and all actors to show restraint and...