Working for Syria. Working with Africa

Working for Syria. Working with Africa

I am travelling from Rome, where I went for voting in the Italian referendum – as ever, but this time for a crucial reform for Italy’s present and future. In Rome I also attended an important event, Med2016, a crossroads for thoughts and proposals on our Mediterranean sea. There I presented the work the European Union is doing for Syria, in the humanitarian field (focusing particularly on Aleppo) and on finding a political solution to the war. Here are the video and the text of my dialogue with Staffan de Mistura. The future of Syria was also at the core of my conversation with the Syrian Women Advisory Board, a group of women from Syria’s civil society, a few days ago in Brussels: to support their work, listen to their voices, and imagine together how to build a future for millions of Syrians. In the last few days, in Brussels, I had two other important meetings. Both were a sign of our friendship and our support to two of our neighbours, to the South and to the East. I met with Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi (here is the video of our press point) and co-chaired the Association Council between the European Union and Georgia, together with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili (here is the video of our press conference). On Friday I took part in the EU-NGO Forum: we work with civil society organisations on a daily basis in every part of the world (here is video of my speech). Right now I am flying towards Dakar, where tomorrow I will open the International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, together with Senegal’s President Macky Sall – and our cooperation with...
Fidel Castro’s death. At work on Kosovo, Cyprus and Syria

Fidel Castro’s death. At work on Kosovo, Cyprus and Syria

I never met Fidel Castro, but I had the opportunity to meet several times his brother, President Raúl Castro, during my official visits to Cuba and some international summits in Latin America. In these two years I have worked a lot with the Cuban authorities, to sign the agreement between the European Union and Cuba and to fully normalise our relations. There are issues where our differences are deep, others where we are very close. On all issues, with no exceptions, we have agreed to discuss openly and to work together. Our institutional work now mirrors a friendship that Europeans and Cubans have never stopped nurturing. This will go on, in a moment of great changes for the island. Here is my statement on the passing away of Fidel.   Back to Brussels. Yesterday we held a meeting that, in a way, is historic: the first Association and Stabilisation Council between the European Union and Kosovo. It is a milestone in the country’s path towards European integration. It was an important day for Kosovo and the European Union also because we signed a deal that will allow Kosovars to have access to a number of European programmes, including Erasmus. Here is the press conference after the Council. In the last  couple of days I also called Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades and the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community, Mustafa Akıncı, in a crucial moment for the talk on Cyprus. They both confirmed that they are determined to carry on the peace process and not to waste a historic opportunity – not only for the island but for Europe and the Middle East. Here is my statement....
At the Foreign Affairs Council: for Aleppo, and for the future of Syria

At the Foreign Affairs Council: for Aleppo, and for the future of Syria

I write after a long day at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg. It was mostly dedicated to the greatest humanitarian catastrophe since World War 2, which is unfolding at Europe’s borders: the conflict in Syria. The priority right now is saving Aleppo. The Syrian regime and Russia have to halt the bombings and let humanitarian aid in: this is the position we expressed, together with all Foreign Ministers of the European Union. We have prepared, already a few weeks ago, a European plan to let humanitarian aid enter the besieged Eastern part of the city, and to transfer the wounded and the sick. We are ready to start, as soon as a truce of at least a few hours will make it possible. We discussed about it with the United Nations’ Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, after the weekend meetings in London and Lausanne. The European Union has always supported and taken part in all efforts by the United Nations and by other actors. Today we have decided to do even more, launching – in coordination with the UN – a dialogue on the future of Syria with regional powers, starting with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. We will also intensify the work we are already doing with the Syrian civil society, to engage the opposition forces but also the Churches, the NGOs, the women’s organisations. When this conflict will be over, it will be up to them to rebuild and reconciliate the country. And it will be up to us to accompany them – a work we can begin as of today.   Our Union has risen from the ashes of...
Syria, Mozambique, Nigeria: the tenacity of hope

Syria, Mozambique, Nigeria: the tenacity of hope

It’s been a full week of work for Syria: constant work, although off camera. I was in touch with Staffan de Mistura, John Kerry, Sergey Lavrov, with the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir, of Iran, Javad Zarif, and of Turkey, Mevlut Çavusoglu. With two priorities: stopping the escalation to relaunch a political process, and allowing humanitarian access to Aleppo and all the besieged areas. Here is the  press release about these days’ work. Since the beginning of October the European Union has put forward a clear proposal for East Aleppo: let humanitarian aid in, let the sick and the wounded out. We must build the conditions to turn our proposal into reality: we will discuss about it on Monday with the Ministers of the Union, at the Foreign Affairs Council. Even in the toughest moments, we cannot afford to stop hoping and working for peace. This is the message we got from the Norwegian Nobel Committee, with the Peace Prize to President Santos. This is the message I got from President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, during the phone call we had yesterday: President Nyusi and the leader of Renamo have decided to continue their peace talks despite the killing of Jeremias Pondeca, one of the negotiators. And this is also the message we all get from the liberation of 21 of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. The Nigerian government, the Red Cross and Switzerland have negotiated with patience for years. Our work doesn’t end here: our support to Nigeria will continue until all girls will be set free, until the whole country will be liberated, and all Nigerians will be able to go...

Restoring a political process and humanitarian aid delivery in Syria

In view of the continued escalation of the conflict in Syria, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, held a round of telephone conversations today and yesterday with the main international and regional actors. She spoke to the United Nations’ Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, of Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir, of Iran, Javad Zarif, and of Turkey, Mevlut Çavusoglu. The High Representative discussed with her interlocutors the need to restore a political process involving key international and regional players, and the ways in which the European Union could facilitate and support this perspective, in coordination with the United Nations. She also discussed the humanitarian initiative launched by the EU to deliver emergency relief to Eastern Aleppo and other besieged areas in Syria and to allow the evacuation of urgent medical cases. The situation in Syria, and the European Union’s work on the humanitarian and on the political track will feature as a major point on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council taking place in Luxembourg on Monday, 17...