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Saudi activist Mr. Raef Badawi was submitted to public lashing today in Jeddah, as part of the sentence condemning him to 10 years of imprisonment and 1000 lashes last September.

Corporal punishment is unacceptable and contrary to human dignity. As we recently commemorated the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments or punishments, the EU reiterates its strong objection to any such treatment or punishment.

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HR/VP Federica Mogherini began the first week of 2015 by chairing the European Commission Group for External Action, and attending two high level opening ceremonies in Riga; for the Latvian Presidency to the Council of the European Union and for the European Year for Development 2015.

Today, the High Representative / Vice President and Head of the European Defence Agency Federica Mogherini appointed Jorge Domecq as the next EDA Chief Executive, as a result of a selection process which started last December.

 

Jorge Domecq, a senior Spanish diplomat, is the current Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Prior to that, he served as Ambassador of Spain to the Republic of the Philippines. 

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I congratulate Maithripala Sirisena on his election as President of Sri Lanka. The EU looks forward to working with him to further develop its relations with Sri Lanka.

The EU will continue to support Sri Lanka in its development as a prosperous and inclusive democracy for the benefit of all its citizens.

I also wish to pay tribute to the Sri Lankan people and authorities for the overall conduct of the election and the strong voter turnout, which augur well for the democratic process.

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You are invited to an off the record technical briefing on the support the European Union is giving to Ukraine. The briefing follows today's proposal by the European Commission for further macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, but will cover also other angles of support.

The renewed attacks in North Eastern Nigeria are another expression of terrorism targeting innocent people. They have led to the destruction of at least 16 villages and reportedly killed hundreds of people, displacing thousands.

The Boko Haram insurgency was discussed at the recent EU-Nigeria Ministerial Dialogue. It will also be addressed during the next regional Security Conference to be held in Niamey on 20 January.

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The E3/EU+3 and Iran will continue negotiations in Geneva on 18 January with a view to making further progress towards a long-term comprehensive solution on the nuclear issue. The meeting will be at Political Directors level, chaired by EU Political Director Helga Schmid.

Please note that no press activities are foreseen during the meeting in Geneva.

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The European Union stands with the Government and people of Turkey following the appalling act of terrorism yesterday in Istanbul, which led to the death of a policeman. The EU expresses its condolences to the family of the deceased and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The EU will continue its regular counter-terrorism dialogue meetings with Turkey as part of our joint efforts to fight terrorism in all its forms.

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Today, the High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini appointed Mr Alain Le Roy as the new Secretary General of the EEAS.

Mr Le Roy is a senior French diplomat who has also served as EU Special Representative in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and as United Nations Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations. Mr Le Roy will take up his functions on 1 March 2015. In preparation for this, he will start working at the EEAS as a Special Adviser to the High Representative from mid-January.

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Today's explosion outside the Police Academy in Sana'a is the latest of a series of terrorist attacks aimed at destabilising Yemen's transition. Our thoughts and sympathy go to the dozens of victims of today's blast and to their families, as well as to those of the attacks that hit Dhammar on 3 January and Ibb on 31 December.

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