European Union External Action

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

Let me start by saying that our thoughts this morning will be first of all with the victims  of the attacks both in Ivory Coast and in Ankara, and I am sure we will come back to that at the European Council that will take place later this week on Thursday and Friday.


Today on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council we have first and foremost Libya. We will host the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy Martin Kobler. We will have with him an exchange of views on how to proceed. We had also talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday about that in Paris. It will be important for us to find the ways to deliver our European Union's support in all possible fields, starting from the humanitarian one to the Libyan people.


We also have Russia on the agenda. It's more than one year that we did not have EU-Russia relations on the agenda of the Foreign Ministers. It is not going to be a discussion on sanctions that were rolled over just a few days ago; and we will come back to the economic sanctions only later during the summer at the European Council.


What we will discuss with the Ministers today will be the state of play of our relations with Russia. A common definition, a united definition of what are the guiding principles of our bilateral relations with Russia, of the European Union and Member States together. I will tell you more after the discussion.


We will also have a point on Iran ahead of my next visit that will take place on 16 April, together with many other Commissioners. We will discuss with the ministers on which ground and on which issues or sectors to re-engage, to re-open full relations and exploring ways to cooperate with Iran bilaterally and also obviously a little bit of the regional dimension.


Syria is also a point very high on our agenda, but also Yemen and other issues.


And last but not least on the Middle East Peace Process. You know that we are working hard in the Quartet and with our international partners starting from the Arab countries to try and keep the perspective of the two states for Israel and Palestine alive and to build the roads that can lead there.


The situation is definitely not improving on the ground. We had, even today, very sad news. So it is very important that the Europeans bring this issue forward together with our partners in the international community and we will have I think a very good productive discussion about that with Member States. Thank you.
 
Q: On the Middle East and the French-led initiative.
 
We are working very well together. We had exchanges with the French Minister and also with the French Special Envoy on the Middle East who you know very well, Pierre Vimont, and who is someone who knows very well the European institutions and has a habit to work within the European Union dimension. We are working very well together with our French friends. When I say Europeans have to work together, together also with the international partners, I mean this - we need to create synergies between different tracks that are possible.  Our objective is the same, our coordination is full and good so today we will have another chance of strengthening this unity at the European level.

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