Delegation of the European Union to Russia

Iraq, the Middle East and Libya: "EU will not cease its endeavours for stability"

14/01/2020 - 08:50

The European Union is following closely the worrying developments in Iran, Iraq, and Libya as well as in the region as a whole.

Since 3 January 2020, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell held a series of phone calls with Foreign Ministers of a number of EU countries and in the region to discuss the recent events and steps to de-escalate the tensions. Furthermore, on 9 January, he had a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the current developments in the Middle East and Libya.  

On 7 January, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell met in Brussels with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom to discuss the situation in Libya. In a Joint Statement issued after the meeting, they called for an immediate stop to any further escalation of violence and to the external interference. They also expressed their strong support to the Berlin Process and the UN mediation efforts.

The College of Commissioners met on 8 January to discuss the situation in Iraq, Iran, the wider Middle East as well as Libya. They coordinated the outreach to different stakeholders and actions to be undertaken. The College also analysed potential consequences of the current crisis on the European Union. "The current crisis deeply affects not only the region but all of us. And the use of weapons must stop now to give space to dialogue", said President von der Leyen to the media after the special College meeting.

On the very same day, European Council President Charles Michel, together with High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, met with Fayez al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord of the State of Libya.

On 9 January, President Michel spoke over the phone with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani. President Michel expressed hopes that there will be no further attempts to increase tensions in the region leading to a de-escalation of the situation in the Middle East. Recalling that the JCPoA agreement remains an important tool for regional stability, he called upon the Iranian President to avoid posing irreversible acts.

Foreign Ministers of 28 EU countries met on 10 January for an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council. They discussed recent developments in Libya, including the military escalation around Tripoli and, in the margins of the meeting, had the opportunity to be briefed by the UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Ghassan Salamé. The Council was briefed on the latest developments in Iraq, including through an informal exchange with the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg. Foreign affairs ministers stressed their continued support for Iraq's stability and reconstruction, as well as for the preservation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), as a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture. At the same time, ministers called on Iran to go back to full compliance with the JCPoA without delay.

The Council gave a mandate to the EU's High Representative to carry out diplomatic efforts with all parties to contribute to de-escalation in the region, support political dialogue and promote a political regional solution.

On 11 January, President Michel met with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul. The presidents had a discussion on how the EU and Turkey can work together to de-escalate the situation in the Middle East and in Libya. They also addressed the EU-Turkey relationship. The following day, on 12 January, President of the European Council met with Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt, in Cairo. The crisis in Libya was at the core of their discussion.


More Information:


Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell after the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council, 10 January

Main results of the Foreign Affairs Council, 10 January 2020

The European Council President calls upon Iran to avoid posing irreversible acts

Statement by President von der Leyen after the special College meeting on 8 January 2020

Press statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell following the special meeting of the College of Commissioners


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