Foreign Affairs Council

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Today, we have discussed about the situation in Afghanistan, China, and how the coronavirus pandemic has been affecting the broader South East Asia.

On Afghanistan, we had a brief discussion and we adopted conclusions on our support to the country.

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The Council adopted conclusions reaffirming the EU's political commitment to support the people of Afghanistan on their path towards peace, security, stability, democracy, prosperity and self-reliance. The EU will condition its future political and financial support to ensure that the republican, democratic and values-based principles are protected and further promoted. The conclusions also reiterate the EU's support for a negotiated political settlement leading to lasting peace and reconciliation, which must build on the democratic and human rights achievements of the past 19 years.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, the European Union and its Member States have observed cyber threats and malicious cyber activities targeting essential operators in Member States and their international partners, including in the healthcare sector. Since the beginning of the pandemic, significant phishing and malware distribution campaigns, scanning activities and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have been detected, some affecting critical infrastructures that are essential to managing this crisis.

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Today we met with the Ministers for an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council that finished sooner than expected. I would like to start by expressing my appreciation to the Croatian Presidency for its swift response in organising on the spot this extraordinary meeting of the Council. The urgency was understood by all and the Croatian presidency provided the logistic means.

We expressed our solidarity with our Member States who are facing a very difficult situation in their borders: Greece, of course, but also Cyprus and Bulgaria. 

The EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs met today for an extraordinary Council meeting to discuss the crisis in Idlib and the situation at the EU external borders with Turkey.

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Q. Are you pleased with the ceasefire agreed over the night?

For sure, I am pleased with the ceasefire. The ceasefire is good news, at least it is a [sign of] good will. Let us see how it works. It is a pre-condition to increase the humanitarian help for the people in Idlib.

 

Q. Do you think the EU might need to improve relations with Russia and President Vladimir Putin?

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We have a very complicated Council [Foreign Affairs Council] today.

You may know that we are going to host the Foreign Affairs Minister of India [Mr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar], who has never been here before. We will share the lunch with the ministers to talk about India and the next Summit, that is going to take place here in Brussels.

The Cooperation Council welcomed the adoption today by the Foreign Affairs Council of the Council Decision on the Conclusion of the EU –Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), signed in 2015. Our Agreement which has now been ratified by all EU Member States and the European Parliament will fully enter into force on 1st March 2020.

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