I write at the end of a week I’ve spent in Kyiv, Strasbourg and Rome. First in Ukraine, last Sunday and Monday, to talk about the reforms the government has launched in the last years and about the war in the eastern part of the country. Today the European Union and Ukraine are closer than ever, but there is still a lot to do to tackle the issues that the people of Ukraine care the most about – starting with the fight against corruption.
This is what I discussed with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, but also with civil society representatives and a group of students at Taras Shevchenko University in Kyiv – here is our conversation. The situation in Donbass and Crimea was at the core of my meetings with the Minister for temporarily occupied territories Vadym Chernysh, with the head of the OSCE monitoring mission in Donbass, with the OSCE representative to the Trilateral contact group and with the International Red Cross. We will discuss the situation in Ukraine also in our Foreign Affairs Council next Monday – here is our declaration confirming our non-recognition policy on the illegal annexation of Crimea, on the annexation’s fourth anniversary.
From Eastern Europe to the Middle East: I dedicated the second part of the week mostly to the situation in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. On Tuesday I was in Strasbourg for the European Parliament’s plenary: we discussed the situation in Eastern Ghouta and Afrin, and the work we are doing not onky to bring some relief to the Syrian people, but also to restart the peace talks in Geneva. Here is my speech in the plenary and the Q&A with the Members of Parliament.
Then in Rome, for two important meetings. On Thursday morning with international donors to the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, whose precious work could be compromised by the US decision to stop financing the Agency. UNRWA’s work – with seven hundred schools and tens of hospitals – is crucial to the stability of the entire Middle East: preserving the Agency is our common interest, and for this reason the European Union has decided to speed up this year’s contribution to UNRWA. Here is my speech in Rome.
On Thursday afternoon, with the Lebanese government, we worked to increase our support to Lebanon’s security: this country is showing incredible resilience in the face of chaos in the Middle East, and it gives hope to our entire region. Here is my speech, announcing 50 million of EU investment in support to the Lebanese security forces.
I discussed the Middle East and Syria, but also the nuclear deal with Iran, Korea, Yemen and migration, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres – I met him in Rome, in the margins of the other meetings.
Finally, here are my speeches at the European Parliament on migration, Cuba, Central Asia and on the diplomatic work with the two Koreas. Tomorrow I will welcome to Brussels the Republic of Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha, who will take part in our Foreign Affairs Council on Monday.