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Mr President, dear Heiko [Maas, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany], Honourable Members of the Security Council, many thanks for having invited the European Union to a debate on an issue so much relevant for us.

The protracted conflict in Libya caused immense suffering for all Libyans and has become a major challenge for the region and ultimately the international community.

On 7 July 2020, seven individuals, mostly Crimean Tatars, were arrested in the Crimean peninsula for their alleged political affiliation. The European Union considers their detention to be politically motivated and, as they have been carried out under Russian legislation by Russian ‘authorities’ in Ukrainian territory, illegal under international law. The European Union does not recognise the enforcement of Russian legislation in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and expects all illegally detained Ukrainians to be released without delay.

On July 7, the Foreign ministers of Germany, France, Egypt and Jordan held an important discussion on the risks linked to the unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank. Unfortunately I could not attend as I was travelling in order to deal with other equally important issues. The EU was represented by the Secretary General of the EEAS and the EU Special Representative for the Middle East.

Five years ago, beginning on 9 July 2015, the Chinese government arrested and detained more than 300 human rights lawyers and human rights defenders, in what is known as the "709 crackdown". In many of the resulting trials, the accused were denied a proper defence and a fair trial. There are extensive and credible reports of mistreatment and torture during their detention, while the lawyers who were detained have been disbarred and those released continue to be monitored.

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Minister, let me use this opportunity to thank President [of Malta] Vella - an old friend -, Prime Minister Abela, you [Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Evarist Bartolo] and Minister [for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement of Malta, Byron] Camilleri for your hospitality and warm welcome today here in Malta.

China has become the 107th State Party to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

By acceding to the ATT, China, an important arms exporter, contributes to the advancement of the Treaty’s objectives to regulate the international trade in conventional arms, to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and ammunition, and to prevent their diversion. Increased transparency in international arms trade is another important objective of the Treaty.

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