Foreign Affairs Council

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Today, the Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey's unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The framework will make it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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We will have two days of Council, today with the Foreign Ministers, tomorrow with the Defence Ministers, with a full agenda as usual.

But let me start with two issues that are not on today’s or tomorrow’s agenda. First, we followed yesterday with great concern and we are feeling very close to the Italian authorities and military over the attack in Iraq. We are following developments very closely there.

The Council focussed on the situation in Syria, including north-east Syria, and on Turkey's drilling activities. Foreign ministers discussed Ukraine and had an exchange of views with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko.

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Thank you very much.

I think that you have already seen the outcome of this Foreign Affairs Council, so we will follow the example of the last [Foreign Affairs] Councils and I will be very short in my introduction to let you have more time for the questions.

In light of Turkey’s continued illegal drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, the Council reaffirms its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law. It recalls its conclusions of 15 July 2019 in all its parts, and notably that delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in good faith, in full respect of international law and in accordance with the principle of good neighbourly relations.

The Council recalls the 9 October 2019 Declaration of the High Representative on behalf of the European Union and urges Turkey again to cease its unilateral military action in North East Syria and to withdraw its forces.

The EU welcomes the halting of prosecution by the military courts of Maurice Kamto and supporters of his party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, and of individuals arrested and detained in the context of the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions. These decisions are a significant gesture of goodwill.

The Council today took note of a presentation by the High Representative on political developments in Thailand following the March 2019 elections.

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