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Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council

Brussels, 15/07/2019 - 11:47, UNIQUE ID: 190715_6
Remarks

Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council

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Good morning.

We have probably today the longest ever Foreign Affairs Council of these five years, we have a very intense agenda. We will start with a point on Iran. We will see how we can together with all the Member States and with the rest of our international partners preserve the nuclear deal [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] with Iran, and put in place all the measures so that Iran can go back to full compliance as it has been until a few days ago.

We will then have a point on Iraq. I am just back from Baghdad, where I have seen with my own eyes on one side the positive developments, especially on the security dimension, but also the urgent need for the international community led by the European Union to support the government, the authorities. I have never seen the different authorities of the state as united in their efforts. We need to consolidate the achievements that have been reached in these years, so I will propose to Member States to increase even more our support to Iraq in this particular moment, in particular to protect the country from complicated and tense regional dynamics.

We will then have the Foreign Minister of Moldova [Nicu Popescu] with us for an exchange of views on how to with the new government, which is one month in office, fully implement our Association Agreement and how to move forward on our partnership.

We will then have in the afternoon a point on the Central African Republic, I am also back from there. I have seen the European Union as the key player and the key actor for supporting a difficult peace process that has been signed but needs to be implemented on the ground. Here again, I will propose to Member States to do more in support to the Central African Republic to avoid that the peace agreement that has been historically signed in February this year would suffer from slow or poor implementation on the ground, especially with the armed groups.

Last but not least, we will have a discussion again with the Foreign Ministers again on the external aspects of migration. I will brief the Ministers on the discussion that I have had with partners in the Sahel region and I see the urgent need, in particular, to mobilise additional funding. Our [EU Emergency] Trust Fund [for Africa] has now more than €4.5 billion, but the money has all been used for projects on the ground, with good results.

In Niger, the transits have gone down dramatically and this is a positive step, but of this €4.5 billion, €4 billion come from the European Union budget, €500 million have been given by the Member States, and some of them in particular. We risk to have a deficit or a gap in the Trust Fund if Member States do not mobilise more funds to continue and support the projects we have put in place, in particular in the countries of origin and transit, for our cooperation with the IOM [International Organisation for Migration] and the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees].

I will ask Member States to be consistent, to put their money where their political priorities are and also to accelerate the procedures for those in need on international protection. I have been in Niger a few days ago and I have seen there a situation that has improved incredibly, thanks to the excellent work the authorities are doing, but also a situation that needs Europe to support in the resettlement of those that need international protection.

I will ask Member States to also be consistent on that and to help emptying the centres that are hosting refugees or people that are asking for asylum. We also need to find a way to tackle the situation of the detention centres in Libya, I think this is a humanitarian obligation for all of us.

So, a full agenda, I hope I did not forget any point.

Q. Turkey?

That is not a point on the agenda but I just spoke to Foreign Minister [of Turkey, Mevlüt] Çavuşoğlu about the Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. I have also started my call with the expression of solidarity to the Turkish people. Today is the third anniversary of the attempted coup and I think that we all remember that day and that night very well. Our solidarity with the Turkish people is not into question at all but today the Member States will also discuss how to follow up to the decisions that were taken by the Heads of State or Governments in the European Council in June regarding the drilling activities.

Q. On the situation in the Gulf?

What I have seen in the region - and I am just back from visiting Iraq and Kuwait and we have had consultations in recent weeks with all the countries of the Gulf, none excluded - is the awareness of the fact that an escalation is dangerous for everybody, no one excluded, that the risk of miscalculations is there. I think that there is an interest today to focus on how to contain the risks, how to avoid a military escalation or an escalation of any kind and I believe that a regional conference in Iraq on focussing on how to protect the good results that have been achieved in Iraq for instance, which is a shared interest of all the countries in the region, could be a good starting point. The role of the European Union is to be defined first and foremost by our Iraqi friends. I have expressed all our support and also our availability to play any role that they consider can be useful, in full respect, in a support mode, as always.

Q. The Italian Minister will present an Italian plan for managing migration. Do you see ground for some kind of breakthrough?

I hope so. We have been working now for years. On the external part of the work we have done on migration, as I said, I see good progress, but when it comes to internal issues, in particular of how to handle the disembarkation, this is not for the Foreign Ministers to discuss. There is an Interior Ministers Council coming up in a few days and it will be for them to discuss how to tackle the issue of disembarkation and return to solidarity in the European Union, this is for the Member States.

Q. What do you think about the region, is there any country in the Gulf that could play a mediation role or that could make a contribution to de-escalate the situation?

As I said, Iraq is a country that has now regained a status not only of a country that needs to be helped but also a country that can contribute to a positive regional dynamic. I was yesterday in Kuwait and that is another country that has always expressed a very wise and rational position. I was trying to build bridges and rebuild unity in the region. I think there is enough wisdom and rationality in the Gulf to try and find a useful way forward. Again, finding a way of living together peacefully is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of rationality and looking at interests, first and foremost security and economic interests in the region, they are very much interlinked.

Thank you.

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-176224

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