This week marked 100 days in office for Federica Mogherini. It also saw her chairing a Foreign Affairs Council that focused on counter-terrorism and the unfolding situation in Ukraine. This was also a key issue at the European Council and during the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg. The High Representative also facilitated a dialogue meeting between the Prime Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo, which finalised the agreement on justice and judiciary in Kosovo. She also met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and chaired the seventh EU-Lebanon Association Council.
Despite not being a formal point on Foreign Affairs Council, there was substantial discussion by 28 EU foreign ministers on recent diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine when they met on Monday 9 February. They also agreed to step up efforts to counter terrorism, in particular in the Mediterranean, Middle East, North Africa, the Gulf and the Sahel. The meeting also had a strong Africa focus, with conclusions on Nigeria's elections, Mali, Central Africa Republic and Boko Haram being adopted.
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vĕra Jourová, and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, issued the following statement on the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation, 6 February:
Today, as well as all over the year, we join our voices to say: Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in Europe and worldwide.
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.
The announcement by the Congolese armed forces of the launch of military operations against the DFLR, as well as the commitment by MONUSCO to provide active support, are steps in the right direction towards attaining stability in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As you know, after the unacceptable attack in Mariupol, I decided to convene this extraordinary Council, also on the request of Members States and in agreement with President Tusk. We have discussed the situation in these days – last time a few hours ago with President Poroshenko. On Sunday I had a conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov and in these hours I'm in constant contact with Ambassador Tagliavini who, as you know, is working in the trilateral contact group, in these hours in Kyiv, also in view of a possible meeting in Minsk in the coming hours.
The involvement of all political actors resulted in agreement being reached on the newly adopted electoral law. The commitment shown by all parties to work in the interests of the country and to avoid a serious political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo is to be applauded.
The way is now clear for elections to be held within the time frames set out in the Constitution. We are also expecting the Independent National Electoral Commission to publish a full electoral timetable.
After more than a year of conflict and protracted negotiations, it is high time for the leaders on both sides to start putting the interest of their people first and work genuinely towards peace and prosperity.
The forthcoming African Union and IGAD summits will be crucial to make effective preparations for the formation of a Government of National Unity. This is the only way to avert an escalation of violence and further regionalisation of the conflict.
In response to an invitation by the Nigerian authorities, the European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the Presidential, Parliamentary and then Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections in Nigeria. These are scheduled on 14 and 28 February respectively.
The Team of International Envoys for the Great Lakes region express their deep concern about recent violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They further express their deepest condolences to the families of the victims.