Delegation of the European Union to Colombia

Foreign Affairs Council: Remarks by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival

Brussels, 22/02/2021 - 09:47, UNIQUE ID: 210222_2
Remarks

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Today we have a very important and a very busy Foreign Affairs Council ahead of us. There are so many items, let me make the list of items: First our relationship with Russia, the Iran nuclear deal, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Belarus, the Strategic Compass, Horn of Africa, Sahel, Southern neighbourhood.

And a very important issue is that we are going to have a meeting with our colleague, the new Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken. That will be an occasion to enhance the importance of our renewed transatlantic relations.

On Russia, it is clear that Russia is in a confrontational course with the European Union. In the case of Mr [Alexei] Navalny there is a blunt refusal to respect their engagements [obligations] including the refusal of taking into account the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. There is going to be an important discussion among Foreign Affairs Ministers on how to react to this and I hope we do it in a united and determined way. Let us see the results of the discussions today.

On the nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) there are important diplomatic contacts taking place with all parties, including the United States, in order to see if it is possible for the United States to come back to the Iran nuclear deal that was abandoned by the Trump administration. I think it is a way for Iran to go back to the fulfilment of their nuclear obligations.

On Myanmar, we are seeing an increasing violent aftermath of the military coup and there, also, we have to react swiftly to the violations of human rights and the attack against demonstrators with – I am sorry to say it- several casualties, people being killed during these demonstrations.

On Belarus, the repression is escalating. There is intimidation of the population and civil society. There also we have to be taking into consideration what the Foreign Affairs Ministers [discuss] in order to give a swift answer.

The Strategic Compass is a way of taking into account the whole set of challenges that the European Union is facing. It is a way for the Ministers of Defence to make a comprehensive approach with this set of challenges and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs they want also to be involved in this very important discussion and [that] will be during the next two years the most important outcome of our work in Security and Defence.

As I said, we have several points on the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, after the recent conference led by President [of France, Emmanuel] Macron that was taking place in Chad.

Finally, the Southern Neighbourhood is just to be mentioned, because we will not have time to discuss about such an important issue. It will be a full discussion on the next Foreign Affairs Council, where we are going to talk also about the situation of the migrants and the migratory policy.

As you see, there are lot of important issues, the [Foreign Affairs] Council will last until 6pm, it is a full-day meeting and I hope I will be able to bring to you important and positive news.

Thank you.

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-202407