Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

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The High Representative of the European Union today spoke with the Foreign Minister of Lebanon to express the European Union’s solidarity with Lebanon following the tragic explosions that hit the country in the evening of 4 August.

He transmitted to the Foreign Minister his most sincere condolences, as well as to the families of the many victims and wounded, and to the people and Government of Lebanon.

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Every day we see deepening tensions between the US and China with clashes over a variety of issues. Positions are hardening with advocates of decoupling in the ascendancy in both Washington and Beijing. This US-China strategic rivalry will probably be the dominant organising principle for global politics, regardless who wins the next presidential US elections. In that context, we need to hold our nerve and frame our own EU approach. I would like to reflect here about a few principles that should guide us

The Internet plays a vital role in our lives, which is why we need to protect ourselves against cyber-attacks. Today, the EU imposed its first-ever cyber sanctions, to defend its citizens and companies from cyber threats.

We are celebrating the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, raising awareness for an issue many times invisible, but still present in our societies. The EU has been working on the prevention and fight against human trafficking through its actions on the ground and through the collaboration at local and international levels.

The European Union, Austria, and Ireland provided €23.5 million to help the Palestinian Ministry of Social Development pay social allowances for 114,000 vulnerable Palestinian family. This is the second payment of social allowances in 2020. It comes ahead of Eid Al Adha amid unprecedented economic and social challenges faced by the Palestinian people due to the implications of the Covid-19 crisis and recent political developments. 

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After tough negotiations, EU leaders agreed an ambitiously funded recovery package. With this deal, the EU demonstrates its internal resilience and solidarity. This is vital for European citizens but it also provides the basis for Europe to engage the wider world. Our internal unity determines our external strength.

The Office of the European Union Representative in Jerusalem is organizing a Photo Marathon for Palestinian and European photographers who are currently living in Palestine. The Photo Marathon will take place from Monday 24 until Friday 28 August 2020.

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Calls to action by regional players in the Libyan conflict must stop. Threats to resort to a military intervention are dangerous, further exacerbate the direct confrontation between Libyan parties and will bring further escalation.

The only responsible response in the interest of Libya, Libyans and the whole region is to increase collective efforts towards a negotiated political solution. We all took strong commitments within the framework of the UN-led Berlin process on Libya. It is high time to translate them into concrete actions and stop foreign interference in Libya.

The European Union (EU) is supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by contributing EUR 4 million to the COVID-19 Flash Appeal of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which identifies the most immediate needs to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

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Water is life. We can survive several days without eating but not without drinking. Water is also the basic ingredient, essential to the production of all kind of food, whether vegetable or animal. This is why the issue of access to fresh water has always been central for humans, and has therefore always been a source of many conflicts. Inherently linked to climate change, economic development and population growth, however, these conflicts are today taking on an increasingly worrying dimension: access to water is becoming one of the main geopolitical issues of our century.

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