Check against delivery!
Good evening. I am just now going to chair a ministerial meeting on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear deal. And I will be happy to brief you on the decisions that we will take tonight, where I would expect that we will not only reconfirm our political commitment to the full implementation of the agreement, but also take some decisions on operational steps, to guarantee that this happens in the coming months, as it has been possible to continue to implement it so far.
I would also like to take this opportunity to debrief you on the fact that I just chaired a meeting of the 28 EU Foreign Ministers. We took the opportunity at the beginning of this ministerial week here in New York to have Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy on Syria, debriefing us on the state of play. We share very much the work he is doing, we support the possibility to relaunch a meaningful peace process in Geneva.
We also discussed the need to have a full implementation of the memorandum of understanding that was reached by President [of Russia, Vladimir] Putin and President [of Turkey, Recep Tayyib] Erdoğan on Idlib. I will discuss this further tomorrow with Foreign Minister [of Turkey, Mevlüt] Çavuşoğlu and Foreign Minister [of Russia, Sergey] Lavrov, as I had the chance to discuss this already with Foreign Minister [of Iran, Mohammad Javad] Zarif this morning.
As you might know, the European Union will host a Syria event [in the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly Ministerial Week] on Wednesday morning at ministerial level, where we will not only look at the implementation of the humanitarian measures, but also at the political process itself.
We also had a debrief from Ghassam Salamé, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Libya, in video conference from Tripoli. Also here, the European Union is working hand-in-hand with the United Nations. Libya is one of the main crises that is closer to us - not only geographically - but also in terms of our work, our common work as Europeans there.
With [UN Special Representative for Libya, Ghassam] Salamé we discussed the support the European Union can give, both on the security situation, but also on the economic track, and on the political process. And we had a good discussion with him. The work will continue among the 28 and in full coordination with the United Nations, but also with other partners. For instance, this is something that we have discussed at length yesterday during our trilateral meeting - EU, African Union and United Nations.
Q: How long do you think you can convince Iran to remain in the nuclear deal?
I think the full implementation of the nuclear deal is in the interest of all, including Iran. This is why I believe Iran has good arguments and good reasons to remain in the agreement. It is an open-ended decision to be taken. Obviously, the more operational decisions we will manage to take and that different countries implement, I believe, the more Iran will have reasons to that. But the fact that we are still here, being able to say that the deal is still fully implemented - as the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] has done less than a month ago - is something that is encouraging.
Q: On Syria. Russia seems to be encouraging EU countries and the U.S. to engage in a reconstruction already and to engage with the regime. Is the European Union ready to do that?
We would be ready, in the case of a political process - a meaningful, legitimate, political process being firmly underway in Geneva, under UN auspices. We have always said it very clearly, since a few years, that the European Union would be willing to contribute to the reconstruction of Syria, because for us the main objective is to take care of the Syrian people - inside Syria or outside of Syria. But in order to do that we need to have the political conditions, which are linked to a political process that is legitimate from the international point of view.
I hope that this could be the case. If the situation in Idlib follows the memorandum of understanding that was agreed, if the constitutional committee can start its work, I see a window of opportunity for the political process to start and the international community to engage. But unless this happens, I do not think we will have the possibility, the space, for doing that.
Q: On Iran - are they demanding any new conditions, are they setting any new deadlines, are they giving you concrete deadlines by which something should happen?
We are working together, all of us. The ministers that I am going to meet right now in the meeting I am going to chair, are working - all of us - in order to maintain the full implementation of the agreement. We know very well that an essential part of the agreement and its implementation regards Iran having the possibility of benefiting from the lifting of sanctions. And this is exactly why we are discussing tonight operational, concrete steps that we can put in place. I would be happy to debrief you on the decisions taken, provided they are taken in a minute.
Q: On Libya.
Sulla Libia la posizione dell’Unione Europea è molto chiara ed è unitaria. Le elezioni saranno un momento fondamentale, dovranno svolgersi, i libici stessi registrandosi ai registri elettorali hanno indicato la loro volontà di andare a un momento elettorale. Le elezioni andranno preparate adeguatamente, il che vuol dire in un quadro costituzionale, legale, chiaro, affinché i libici sappiano esattamente per cosa votano, che sia per il parlamento o che sia nelle elezioni presidenziali: quali sono i poteri, qual è il quadro istituzionale dentro il quale queste elezioni si svolgono. Dovranno esserci delle condizioni di sicurezza adeguate. E sopratutto un processo politico che consenta di sapere, prima che le elezioni si tengano, che tutte le parti il giorno possono accettare i resultati.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I160560