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...
For a political solution to the war in Syria

For a political solution to the war in Syria

I write on my way back from Saudi Arabia, where I took part – for the second time in a row – in the annual summit of the Arab League. This year’s summit was even more important than the usual ones, in such a delicate moment for the war in Syria. The European Union is always opposed to the use of chemical weapons – we repeated it right after last week’s attack in the outskirts of Damascus – and we support the efforts to prevent new chemical attacks. At the same time, we know that the only possible solution to the Syrian tragedy is a political solution, not military, through the Geneva negotiations led by the United Nations. This is the position of the entire European Union – and I restated it yesterday, on behalf of all 28 countries of the Union, with this declaration. Today, in Saudi Arabia, I spoke about this – and about the other regional crises – with the UN Special Envoy Staffan del Mistura and with many of our regional interlocutors: Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the King of Jordan Abdullah II, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Emir of Kuwait Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj, the Foreign Ministers of Iraq Ibrahim al Jaafari, of Kuwait Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah​, and of Morocco Nasser Bourita, the Secretary Generals of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, and of the African Union, Moussa Faki. In just over a week, we will host – as European Union – the second Brussels Conference on the future of Syria. It will be...