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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.

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.

The EU and Georgia held the 13th round of their annual Human Rights Dialogue by video-conference on 2 July 2020. Reviewing developments since the previous dialogue in May 2019, the dialogue allowed as previously for an open, constructive exchange on the human rights situation in Georgia, on Georgia's commitment to making sustainable progress in human rights protection and on the latest developments with the EU's policy for the promotion and protection of democracy and human rights.

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Nationwide voting in the Russian Federation on constitutional amendments concluded on 1 July. Some amendments concern changes in the political system and the work of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

The European Union regrets that, in the run up to this vote, campaigning both for and against was not allowed, thereby denying voters access to balanced information.

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In the almost ten years since civil war began in Syria, I have followed closely its appalling developments and the horrors that the Syrian people have gone through. I come from a country that went through a civil war and perfectly know how it divides and destroys a society.

More than 12 million Syrians, half of the pre-war population, had to flee their homes. Over half a million have lost their lives. An entire generation of Syrian children has only known war. As Europeans, we have collectively been unable to stop these massacres at the gates of our continent. When we pursue our efforts to build a stronger Common Foreign and Security Policy for the EU, I often think of Syria and what we could have done there.

The Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the European Union's External Action Service inform the international community that today, the Venezuelan Minister of People's Power for Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza, and the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, held a phone conversation in which they agreed on the need to maintain the framework of diplomatic relations, especially at times when cooperation between both parties can facilitate the path of political dialogue.

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Establishing a strong and independent National Bank has been a fundamental achievement for Ukraine, and remains crucial to the country’s future success. Over the past years, the National Bank of Ukraine has taken bold and much needed steps to ensure Ukraine’s macro-financial stability and facilitate a sustainable economic recovery.

Today, as part of the EU's global response to the coronavirus outbreak, the EU - through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) - has adopted a new assistance package to protect migrants, stabilise local communities and respond to COVID-19 in North Africa. This package includes €80 million in new funds as well as €30 million reallocated from non-contracted actions under the EUTF.

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On 18 June, the European Union and Mercosur concluded negotiations on the Political Dialogue and Cooperation part as well as on the Preamble, and on the General, Institutional and Final provisions of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement.

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