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The European Union supports all the initiatives aimed at bringing political solution to the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine; the efforts of Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande, and the visits to Kyiv and Moscow they just announced, are clearly going in this direction.

The European Union is united in using all the means available to push for a political solution, by applying pressure as well as continuing dialogue.

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The murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh constitutes the latest illustration of the denial by Da'esh of the most elementary human values and rights. Our thoughts are with the family of Moaz al-Kasasbeh and with the people of Jordan.

We remain determined to mobilise all means at our disposal to fight terrorism, and we are working in these very hours to finalise our set of measures.

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Despite considerable efforts by the IGAD mediation and the apparently successful outcome of the Arusha talks between SPLM factions, the agreement signed in Addis Ababa on 2 February between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar has made little significant progress towards a comprehensive peace agreement in South Sudan. The conflict that broke out over a year ago has been a disaster for the people of South Sudan and has put at risk the stability of the entire region.

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Today's mass trial of 230 defendants and thirty-nine minors  violates Egypt's international human rights obligations.

Among the defendants is well-known activist and blogger Ahmed Douma, who spearheaded the 25 January 2011 Egyptian uprising.

The EU calls on the Egyptian authorities to abide by their international obligations, to uphold the right to a fair trial and safeguard due legal process.

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You are invited to an off-the-record background briefing on the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (EU INTCEN), at the EEAS building, Rond-Point Schuman 9, on Thursday 5 February at 14h30.

Due to limited space, please confirm if you will be able to attend to Alceo.SMERILLI@ec.europa.eu

Accreditation for this briefing will be given on a first-come, first served basis. For accredited press only.

Today's decision of a Court in Egypt to sentence 183 defendants to death following a mass trial is in violation of Egypt's international human rights obligations. 
 
We call on the Egyptian judicial authorities to ensure that due legal process is followed, in line with international standards.
 
The EU opposes capital punishment under all circumstances and considers it cruel and inhuman, failing to act as a deterrent and representing a denial of human dignity and integrity.

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A meeting with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg and the Quartet, participation in the CELAC Summit, and chairing an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council on Ukraine, were amongst the items on Federica Mogherini's agenda last week.

The release of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, detained for 400 days is a positive step taken by the Egyptian authorities.

His colleagues, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed however, remain in custody and we call for their release.

Freedom of expression is an essential element of a democratic society. Journalists must be able to work in a safe working environment.

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