Foreign Affairs Council

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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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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.

Today, the Council adopted a framework for targeted restrictive measures in view of the situation in Nicaragua.
This framework provides for the possibility of imposing targeted and individual sanctions against persons and entities responsible for human rights violations or abuses or for the repression of civil society and democratic opposition in Nicaragua, as well as persons and entities whose actions, policies or activities otherwise undermine democracy and the rule of law in Nicaragua. Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

The Council today adopted conclusions on democracy. The conclusions underline that in today's world, democracy is being challenged and called into question. While democracy remains strong in many countries, in others there is a growing trend towards authoritarianism. The Council notes that the challenges to democracy are multi-fold and need to be countered urgently and comprehensively.

The Council reiterates its unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country. Taking into account that since last year’s general elections, governments have not yet been formed in Bosnia and Herzegovina on State and Federation levels, the Council renews its call on Bosnia and Herzegovina to proceed with government formation and start work without any further delay, in the interest of all citizens. The Council recalls that effective implementation of reforms is necessary to advance on the EU path. In addition, the Council recalls its Conclusions of June 2019, which took note of the Commission’s opinion.

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