Delegation of the European Union to Syria

The fight against global terrorism dominates HR/VP Mogherini's agenda this week

23/01/2015 - 00:00
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The week started with the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini chairing the Foreign Affairs Council. It focused on fighting global terrorism and on relations with Russia. It was agreed that security cooperation and cultural communication are key to fighting terrorism.

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At a more practical level, the HRVP suggested that the EU needs to improve communication in Arabic, "to explain to the Arabic-speaking population our policies and also to listen to the messages that are coming from the Arab world". The comprehensive discussion on the EU’s relations with Russia was held with a view to preparing the debate at the March European Council: "Starting a strategic debate does not mean and has not meant changing the course of our relations with Russia. We stay the course,” said the HRVP and added that relations can only be changed if and when the Minsk commitments are implemented. Ministers agreed the need to reinforce diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the Ukrainian crisis. Foreign Ministers also condemned Boko Haram, reassured that EU support to Ukraine is not going to change, and voiced hope following the recent elections in Tunisia.

The fight against terrorism was a key message also at Mogherini's meeting with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Nabil El Araby, in Brussels, where the Middle East Peace Process and notably the terrorist threat posed by Da'esh in Syria and Iraq was discussed. Mogherini underlined that "together with the Arab world, we are fully aware that this is not only a military and a security fight but also a political and a cultural one". The theme was carried on at The 2nd Annual EU-Arab Seminar on Political and Security Issues at the EEAS. The seminar gave the opportunity to EU and Arab security policy experts to freely discuss security-related regional topics and ways for cooperation. On Thursday this week, the Counter-ISIL Coalition Small Group Meeting took place in London, building on the commitment to fight global terrorism. It was attended by HR/VP Federica Mogherini, Foreign Secretary of the UK Philip Hammond, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, among others.

Mogherini also met Secretary of State Kerry earlier this week at her first official visit to the United States. The focus of the visit was on strengthening a transatlantic bond on a wide range of issues - security and trade being the key areas. "Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the next frontier in transatlantic security. TTIP will create the largest free-trade area in the world," Mogherini said.