Ukraine crisis and counter-terrorism dominates my agenda this week

Ukraine crisis and counter-terrorism dominates my agenda this week

This week marked 100 days in office for me. It also saw my chairing a Foreign Affairs Council which focused on counter-terrorism and the unfolding situation in Ukraine, which was also a key issue at the European Council and during her appearance at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg. I have also facilitated a dialogue meeting between the Prime Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo, which finalised the agreement on justice and judiciary in ‪‎Kosovo. I also met Palestinian President Mahmoud ‪Abbas and chaired the seventh EU-Lebanon Association Council.

Counter-terrorism and crises in Mali, Libya, CAR, Nigeria and Yemen were the main discussion items at Monday’s FAC. The crisis in Ukraine occupied a large part of the Council meeting, which agreed on the addition of 19 individuals and 9 entities to the list of those subject to asset freezes and visa bans. Publication and entry into force of the measures will take place on Monday, 16 February. On the measures to counter terrorism it was decided “to strengthen and increase the cooperation activities with some key countries in the Middle East, the Arab World, Africa and Sahel, and the Gulf”. It was also decided “to work on prevention and information exchange with key countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia to prevent terrorism from an external action side.”

Addressing the EP plenary, I have voiced urgency in solving Ukraine crisis: “We discussed Ukraine one month ago and since then the situation that was already dramatic at that time, has deteriorated further.” In separate addresses I also spoke about my grave concern for the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Throughout the week I stayed engaged in the diplomatic efforts to push for a political solution that led to an agreement in Minsk on 12 February between the leaders of Ukraine and Russia as well as Germany and France. Upon mine arrival at the Informal meeting of the Members of the European Council I said the agreement on Ukraine in Minsk was “definitely a step in the right direction […] The important thing now will be to see the ceasefire entering into force on the night between Saturday and Sunday” The EU was already looking “at the practical tools, the practical means, that we have to make implementation feasible, to support it, to help and sustain these efforts” she added.

I held a meeting with Prime Minister Aleksandar ‪Vučić and Prime Minister Isa ‪Mustafa to resume the high level dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo for the normalisation of relations. The two Prime Ministers finalised the agreement on justice and judiciary in ‪‎Kosovo, thereby closing a critical chapter of the implementation of the Brussels Agreement. The next day I met President of Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. I said that this visit was an opportunity to “re-state EU’s support for a two-state solution with an independent, democratic, viable State of Palestine living side-by-side with Israel and its other neighbours in peace and security.”