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Today, we open a new chapter in our relations, marked by stronger cooperation on key foreign policy and security issues.
I am happy to see that our meeting confirms that a strong European Union – US partnership is crucial to support democratic values, as well as global and regional stability, prosperity and conflict resolution.
We took two important decisions.
We agreed to launch the European Union – United States dialogue on China as a forum to discuss the full range of related challenges and opportunities. We decided to continue meetings at the senior official and expert levels on topics such as reciprocity; economic issues; resilience; human rights - human rights; security; multilateralism; and areas for constructive engagement with China, such as climate change. We share an assessment of China’s role as a partner, as a competitor and a systemic rival – as we are used to say here in Europe.
We equally agreed – and this is maybe the most important – to support the fullest possible involvement of the United States in the European Union defence initiatives and to enhance our dialogue on these issues. The European Union security and defence policy contributes to the transatlantic security and offers concrete opportunities for our cooperation.
We also discussed about Iran. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) remains a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy despite existing difficulties. There are difficulties, but despite that, I think that this agreement is a masterpiece of diplomacy. Iran’s continued departure from its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA are a source of concern and we stressed our full support to the work of the International Atomic Energy [Agency]. As Coordinator of the JCPOA, I welcome the Secretary’s reaffirmation that the US is ready to engage and the prospect of a US return to the JCPOA. We will work on that.
On Russia, we agreed to coordinate our efforts in addressing Russia's confrontational behaviour and encourage Russia to abandon this path. We continue to stand ready to engage with Russia on issues of common interest.
We will continue working together on the European Union’s Eastern neighbourhood. We are committed to support the democratic aspirations, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of these countries, starting with Ukraine. The European Union and the United States are drivers in supporting the reforms necessary for the economic prosperity of the region.
We also talked about the Western Balkans, on which the Secretary [of State of the United States, Antony Blinken] has been engaged for a long time. On the Western Balkans, the European perspective remains a priority for both the EU and the US. We will work together, avoiding any kind of competition among us, to support reconciliation and improve governance, to build resilience and push towards key reforms that make possible the European Union integration.
On the Eastern Mediterranean, we will work hand in hand for sustainable de-escalation, based on our interest in a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey.
On Ethiopia, the Secretary [of State of the United States, Antony] Blinken and I shared utmost concerns about the humanitarian tragedy and the human rights violations in Tigray. We request unhindered humanitarian access, cessation of hostilities, an investigation of human rights violations, and an immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopian territory. We will continue our close cooperation and coordination, and encourage both Sudan and Ethiopia to look for a solution to their differences through peaceful means.
A special dedication was devoted to Afghanistan. We will intensify our cooperation to advance the peace process and to ensure the preservation of democratic gains, as well as the long-term stability and prosperity of the country.
All in all, we have a solid and comprehensive agenda for the months and years ahead, such as bringing the pandemic under control, securing economic recovery, and addressing the global climate crisis. We also plan to step up our work together in multilateral fora, such as the World Health Organisation and the COVAX initiative, to jointly address the global challenges of our world.
I would like to thank the Secretary [of State of the United States, Antony Blinken], once again, for being here in Brussels and for having found time to share with us a lot of concerns about the world’s problems. It shows that for both of us the transatlantic partnership is the most important relationship.
Thank you Secretary.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-203679