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Good morning to everybody, good morning Minister, dear Mevlüt!
I am very pleased to welcome here in Brussels, at the headquarters of the European External Action Service, my colleague and friend, the Turkish Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. We will spend some time taking stock of the relations between the European Union and Turkey and we will discuss the way forward.
Last year has been a complicated year for these relations. Recently, we have seen, from both parts, an improvement in the overall atmosphere and some important steps. And this meeting today is also an important step in the direction of looking for a mutual strategic interests, the development of a cooperative and reciprocal relationship anchored in common values and principles.
Another good step is the announced resumption of direct exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece.
Such efforts have to be maintained. Intentions and announcements need to be translated into actions.
Another important step are the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General [António] Guterres for a resumption of the Cyprus settlement talks under United Nations auspices.
We are fully committed to support a speedy resumption of those negotiations.
We strongly wish to see a sustainable de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, but in the wider region also.
I am sure that we can engage more in a substantive dialogue to strengthen the importance of the political processes related to regional conflicts, be it in Libya, Syria or Nagorno Karabakh.
We will talk also with full respect for each other, and in a frank and open way, about the political situation in Turkey and the prospects of adhesion.
We are sure that the vibrant Turkish society will highlight the need for a dialogue. We remain concerned about the situation in Turkey from the point of view [of rule of law and human rights situation] because it is an important neighbour and we want to build with Turkey a common and shared future.
Link to the video: https://newsroom.consilium.europa.eu/permalink/223597