From the Western Balkans Summit to Central Asia, from Ukraine to the Sahel

From the Western Balkans Summit to Central Asia, from Ukraine to the Sahel

I write as I arrive in Burkina Faso and the Sahel, where I will meet our regional partners. Until this morning I was in Kyiv, Ukraine, for the 21st summit between the European Union and Ukraine – the first since the election of Volodymyr Zelensky, and the sign of a uniquely close partnership. We discussed the reforms that the Ukrainian citizens are asking to their government, but also the situation in the east of the country, in Crimea and in the Sea of Azov, on top of trade and energy security. Here is our joint statement. Last Friday I was in Poznan, Poland, for the summit with our six partners in the Western Balkans: the whole region’s integration inside the European Union is first and foremost our own interest, and cooperation among the “Western Balkans Six” is essential to facilitate their path towards the European Union. Here is my interview in Poznan with Radio Free Europe, and here is our press release. Over the weekend I was once again in Central Asia: in these years, we have built ever stronger ties with this region. In Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, I announced the opening of an EU embassy to the country – the fifth in the five countries of Central Asia. Here is my press conference with Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and my statement to the local press. Then off to Bishkek, in Kyrgyzstan, for the ministerial meeting between the European Union and Central Asia. These five countries see Europe as an essential point of reference and are asking us to get more and more engaged in Central Asia. I spoke about it in the press...
A partner for Asia’s security, and for peace and democracy in Venezuela

A partner for Asia’s security, and for peace and democracy in Venezuela

I write at the end of a week dedicated mostly to cooperation with our Asian partners, to Venezuela, and the Western Balkans’ path towards the European Union. Last weekend I was in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue – one of the major conferences in the world on security and defence. Today Europe’s and Asia’s security are linked: just think of the situation in Afghanistan, at trade routes in the Indian Ocean, or at our common need to prevent nuclear proliferation. This is why in these years we have strengthened ever more our cooperation with Asian partners. In Singapore I took part in a public debate on the situation in Korea, together with the Defence Ministers of the Republic of Korea and Japan (here is the video). It was also the opportunity to meet several important partners: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan; but also the Defence Ministers of China Wei Fenghe, of South Korea Jeong Kyeong-doo, of Vietnam Ngô Xuân Lịch, of New Zealand Ron Mark, and of Australia Linda Reynolds. Press release here. And here is my interview on Channel News Asia. From Singapore to New York, for a meeting between the International Contact Group we have created on Venezuela, and the representatives of the Lima Group. This is part of the Contact Group’s outreach to the main international interlocutors, to support a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela. Here is our joint statement, and here a press release on the meeting. Back to Brussels, I celebrated with a lot of American and European friends the anniversary of D-Day and our continent’s liberation from nazi-fascism,...
In Brussels, a point of reference for our partners

In Brussels, a point of reference for our partners

I write at the end of a week when we have welcomed tens of ministers to Brussels, representing many of our closest partners. We started on Monday with Libya, in a meeting with Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj and a session of our Foreign Affairs Council together with the UN Special Envoy for Libya, Ghassam Salame: we discussed how to stop the fighting in the country and relaunch the UN-led political negotiations. Here is what I told journalists on Monday morning, here is the press release on my meeting with Serraj, and here is the statement with the 28 EU Member States. Libya was also one of the issues we discussed with the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the five Sahel countries – Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso – in a joint meeting on Tuesday with the European Union’s Foreign and Defence Ministers. We talked about how to strengthen the G5 Sahel joint military force, which is playing a crucial role in contrasting terrorism and organised crime in the region. Here is Tuesday’s press conference, where I talk about the Sahel. In the margins of the meeting, I met bilaterally with the ministers of all five countries. On Monday we also received a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I had called for a meeting on the same day with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK, to confirm our support to the nuclear deal with Iran: together we spelled out again the need to avoid an escalation of tensions and violence in the Gulf. Here is Monday’s press conference on Iran and Pompeo’s visit....