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Thank you for this opportunity. I would like to start by paying tribute to the Sudanese people: women and youth in particular, who fought for peaceful change and for the ideals of freedom, peace and justice.

The EU is organising the fourth Brussels conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’. It will take place in a virtual format on 30 June 2020, and will be co-chaired with the United Nations.

On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we pay tribute to the victims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. At a time when the world is joining efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, human rights must remain at the core of our battle. On this day, we give a voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been victims of torture and those who are still tortured today.

Sudan has embarked on a political and economic transition following the Constitutional Declaration of 17 August 2019. This is a major step towards civilian-led rule with a historic opportunity to achieve peace, democracy and economic recovery. The European Union supports the consolidation of the Sudanese transition by accompanying the country on its path of political and economic reforms. We are committed to remaining a key partner for the authorities, in their quest to make the transition to democracy a success.

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Thank you Minister, thank you dear Nikolaos [Panagiotopoulos, Greek Minister of National Defence], thank you for your invitation and for the very good meeting we just had.

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Thank you very much Prime Minister [of Greece] Kyriakos [Mitsotakis]. It is really a pleasure to be here, how not being in Athens? I had a wonderful morning today, accompanied by my friend, your Foreign Affairs Minister [Nikos Dendias].

In Europe, discussions are under way on an ambitious recovery plan to deal with the consequences of the major economic crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Following the joint proposal by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, the EUR 750 billion of additional expenditure proposed by the Commission should be financed through the issuing of debt instruments on the financial markets.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was targeted by several drones and ballistic missiles earlier this week. The European Union condemns this indiscriminate attack on Saudi cities claimed by the Houthis.

This follows an intensification of hostilities within Yemen where civilians, including children, continue to bear the brunt of the conflict’s violence. All attacks against civilians are unacceptable. The number of child victims of the conflict in Yemen is deeply troubling.

The Senior Officials of the International Contact Group (ICG) met today, through video conference, to discuss the latest developments in Venezuela. They were debriefed by the Special Adviser Enrique Iglesias on his recent contacts with national political actors, as well as main international stakeholders.

 

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