European Union foreign ministers today restated their strong support to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements on Ukraine, and for the reform programme being undertaken by the government.
"The European Union will continue to support Ukraine with a special focus on the delivery of services to the population and trying to make sure that the conditions in the country improve for the people," said High Representative Federica Mogherini, after chairing the monthly ministerial meeting.
"And, obviously, this requires also a better security situation, and the situation in the east in the last days was definitively extremely worrying for us. So when we refer to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, we obviously restate our expectation that the fighting stops there and that a process of peace can be started effectively."
Ministers also discussed the political, security and economic situation in Libya, as well as EU plans to improve the management of migration through the Central Mediterranean.
"But we also decided today to respond positively to the invitation that the European Union has received, to join the African Union, the League of Arab States and the United Nations, transforming in this way the Troika into a Quartet to try to accompany a process that has to see the political transition in Libya coming to a positive moment and this requires a full positive Libyan ownership," Mogherini said.
Ministers also agreed to increase the EU's engagement with Egypt, a key country in its region, and help it meet a number of challenges.
"One is to help Egypt face the economic and social challenges. It is a country of 94 million people, half of which are below the age of 25, with a youth unemployment rate around 30%.
"Second, the work on the political track; democracy, human rights, rule of law, the work for an open society are all at the centre of our exchanges with the Egyptian authorities."
Thirdly, the EU will increase cooperation with Egypt on a number of other issues, including counter-terrorism, migration and regional security.
Mogherini has invited Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to attend next month's meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Ministers also reiterated the EU's position on the Middle East Peace Process.
"What does not change is the EU position on the two States, on the settlements, on Jerusalem, and it is useful for the European Union to restate its willingness to work with the international community, within the Quartet, with our friends in the United States, in the UN and in Moscow, with our Arab friends and interlocutors, starting from Egypt but also with Jordan, or the League of Arab States, or Saudi Arabia, to find the way to get to the two States."
Mogherini pledged to engage with the new US administration on the Middle East and to hold an Association Council with Israel.
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