Remarks by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival to the Foreign Affairs Council
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We will have a Council today focussing mainly on three issues.
First of all, on Libya – the situation there, with a political focus. Contacts are underway with the new Special Envoy of the United Nations [Ghassan Salamé] and our Head of Delegation [Bettina Muscheidt] is these days in Tripoli.
Then we will have a session on migration. We will host the Director General of the IOM [International Organization for Migration], Mr. [William Lacy] Swing, and the High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations, [Filippo] Grandi. Together with them, we will discuss mainly about our common work to ease the situation of the migrants in Libya, inside Libya but also in the Sahel, and our work on the Central Mediterranean Route.
And we will have a further point on the agenda on DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] – the situation and the tensions there. I have seen that just in these hours, Seoul has initiated the proposal of a military to military contact with Pyongyang. So, we will discuss this with the Ministers and you will have probably decisions on this point later today.
Q. Italy is demanding more and more solidarity and is pressuring to block Operation Sophia.
Work is ongoing well. First of all, today we will also adopt the review of the mandate of our other mission for Libya that works on the border, EUBAM, and is, by the way, doing some new projects with Italy and with the Italian Interior Ministry for the southern border of Libya - which is a file that is going very well, especially with our partners in the Sahel. I was in Paris just the other day, launching the Alliance for the Sahel together with Chancellor Merkel and President Macron.
We will adopt today the review of EUBAM Libya – our mission on border management in Libya – and work is ongoing very well on Sophia. The mandate expires at the end of July, we still have a couple of weeks and I do not see any particular problem with any particular country on that.
Q. Is it time for more contacts with North Korea – you mentioned the South Korean initiative?
The European Union has the toughest sanction regime on North Korea. We have autonomous measures; we have all the measures and the sanctions in the framework of the UN Security Council resolutions but we also have our own sanctions. I guess it is the country with whom we have the toughest sanctions system in place globally. But we also have a channel open for political contacts; we have 7 Member States that have embassies in Pyongyang and North Korea has embassies in some of our Member States.
Our position is clear, we trust the leadership and the ownership of the Republic of Korea in this process. And we stay in close contacts with all our international allies and friends to coordinate well messages. We will discuss with the Ministers what we can do more to facilitate a solution that in our view cannot be but a diplomatic and political one; for sure not a military solution for the situation in the Korean peninsula, as the South Korean have pointed out very clear.