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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.

On 7 July, the European Union (EU) and New Zealand held the first session of their annual Joint Committee at senior officials’ level. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the meeting was held by video conference.

The EU-facilitated Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina will resume in Brussels on Sunday 12 July. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell will host a high level meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić.

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Thank you dear Minister [of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu], thank you for your warm welcome. It is the second time that I am visiting Turkey in the last four months. I have not come more frequently due to the coronavirus. I hope that in the future, once the pandemic will stop imposing constraints, we will be able to increase our contacts, our conversations because we have a lot of things to talk [about], a lot of problems to solve and the common endeavour of improving the relation between Turkey and the European Union.

On Monday 6 July, a Russian court found prominent journalist, Ms Svetlana Prokopyeva, guilty on charges of justifying terrorism after having stated in a radio programme that a terrorist attack at an FSB building was linked to the social and political situation in Russia, and that the incident was a result of the State’s ongoing restrictions on political and civil liberties. She has been ordered to pay a substantial fine, which we consider unjustified.

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“Demography is destiny” said the sociologist Auguste Comte: the basic idea is that population trends and distributions determine the future of a country or region. Recently, my colleague Dubravka Suica, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for demography and democracy, provided us with an analysis of the foreseeable consequences of the demographic changes underway in Europe and globally. This work deserves our full attention, because this subject is both central to the Union's internal affairs and for its place in the world.

Today, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight arrived in Mogadishu from Brindisi, Italy, carrying humanitarian and medical supplies provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italian civil society organisations and international NGOs.

On 3 July, four defendants were sentenced to prison terms in the Büyükada case against a group of human rights defenders and long-standing interlocutors of both the EU and many of its Member States, three years after they were temporarily taken into custody.

The decision by the Court is deeply regrettable and further deepens the EU’s serious concerns regarding Turkey’s backsliding in fundamental areas as expressed on numerous occasions, in the Commission’s annual reports and in Council conclusions.

We need to build a common strategic culture in Europe. If we agree more on how we see the world and the challenges it contains, it will be easier to agree on what to do about them. Given our different histories, this will take time. It requires many discussions among all involved in the shaping of Europe’s foreign policy, both in Brussels and capitals. We need to understand where each of us is coming from; what worries people and why; but also what we have in common.

I have received today a letter from the Foreign Minister of Iran referring Iran’s concerns regarding implementation issues by France, Germany and the United Kingdom under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to the Joint Commission for resolution through the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, as set out in paragraph 36 of the agreement.

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