Operation Irini: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell following his meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio

Rome, 18/03/2021 - 21:18, UNIQUE ID: 210318_19
Remarks

Check against delivery!

Grazie Luigi [Di Maio], grazie Ministro [degli affari esteri e della cooperazione internazionale della Italia], sono veramente molto contento di essere oggi qui a Roma, in questabellissima città per il primo anniversario dell’operazione Irini ed avere l’opportunità di parlare con il Ministro Di Maio su questioni di interesse comune per l’Italia e l’Unione europea, e tra poco anche con il Ministro [della difesa della Italia, Lorenzo] Guerini su temi di sicurezza e difesa. 

Un anno fa, quando abbiamo lanciato l’operazione Irini era anche l’inizio della pandemia che ha fondamentalmente cambiato le nostre vite e ha causato circa 2.7 milioni di morti nel mondo e solo qui, in Italia, più di 100.000. Sembra incredibile, ma e vero.

Le ricordiamo oggi all’occasione della prima giornata nazionale delle vittime del Covid. È dato la bandiera italiana a mezza asta a la porta di questo Ministero.  

Dobbiamo rimanere uniti e lavorare insieme, solo così vinceremo la pandemia. 

If you allow me to switch to English. Today we had an important discussion with Minister Luigi about Libya and the prospects we have for peace with the new leadership in the country. The way is still long and requires consolidated efforts, but there is a window of opportunity that we have to use.

Allow me to thank Italy for the important contribution that it has always made on this difficult file and in particular when it came to launching Operation Irini and also for hosting the Operations’ headquarters, which I will visit later this afternoon.

With Minister [Di Maio] we discussed Russia and Turkey, as you know next week there is a Foreign Affairs Council and after the European Union Council. We have also touched upon the Middle East peace process.

On Turkey, also we have a momentum, a good momentum, following their exploratory talks with Greece. And I will present a report to the European Union leaders, where I will outline current trends and suggest a way ahead to consolidate a constructive attitude, while at the same time being ready to take measures if necessary. And with [Minister] Luigi [Di Maio] we are going to discuss this report next Monday, and this talk has been very useful to prepare our discussions with the other European Union colleagues.

Finally, we talked about Russia. I expressed my gratitude to the Minister for the Italian activities contributing to the development of the European Union’s policy towards Russia. It is clear that Russia is going down a worrisome authoritarian route, disconnecting further from Europe and not accepting that we talk with them about human rights and political freedoms. I expect from the European Council a discussion on the state of play and on the way ahead. One thing is sure – and we agreed with the Minister – only European Union unity, fully embedded in the five guiding principles, implementing all of them – I mean all – is key in setting our future relations.

Finally, Minister, caro Luigi [Di Maio], allow me two words on the case of Giulio Regeni. L’Egitto deve fare il più possibile per investigare le circostanze della sua orribile morte, in cooperazione con le autorità italiane. I am calling for that once again. L’unione Europea e con voi, e con Italia è con la famiglia di Giulio.

Link to the video:https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-203527