Foreign ministers discussed on November 19 the most pressing issues on the international agenda.
They highlighted their continued full support for the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), following the entry into force of US sanctions on 5 November 2018. They noted that the agreement continues to be implemented by Iran, as certified for the 13th time by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the same time, they expressed their full solidarity to those member states which witnessed unacceptable behaviour from Iranian actors on European soil, and affirmed their readiness to consider a targeted appropriate response.Foreign ministers also touched on the outcome of the international conference for Libya hosted by the Italian Government in Palermo on 12-13 November and the situation in Gaza, following the latest escalation of violence.
Foreign ministers had a discussion on Central Asia (Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) ahead of the 14th EU-Central Asia ministerial meeting that will take place on 23 November in Brussels. Foreign ministers noted the recent significant changesin the region and the new momentum in bilateral and regional cooperation. They expressed a strong interest in stepping up EU engagement in Central Asia in areas such as support for reform and economic development, as well as the promotion of sustainable connectivity and of regional conditions for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
This discussion will feed into the preparation of the new EU strategy on Central Asia expected to be adopted in 2019.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Council discussed Bosnia and Herzegovina following the elections held on 7 October. Foreign ministers underlined the importance of forming governments at all level as soon as possible. This will allow political leaders to return to fully focusing on the reform agenda. The Council insisted that the continuation of the reform process remains essential to respond to the aspirations of the citizens, in particular the youth. They also noted that the reform of the electoral law should be undertaken.
Foreign ministers discussed the situation in Yemen. Ministers exchanged views on ongoing EU efforts, in particular with regard to political and humanitarian support. They reaffirmed their strong support to the UN-led process and the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith.
At a moment when we see some encouraging steps in the direction of de-escalation, I believe it is the right time to send a clear and strong message to all those involved in the conflict, in order to consolidate these steps, come to a ceasefire, and to engage in political talks led by the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Since 2015, the EU has contributed more than €234 million in humanitarian funding to Yemen. The EU remains the main humanitarian donor in Yemen.
The Council exchanged views on the latest developments in Ukraine, in particular the situation in the Azov Sea and the “elections” in the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic” on 11 November 2018.
Foreign ministers reiterated their unwavering support for and commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. In this context, they recalled that the EU does not recognise the “elections” of 11 November 2018 that it considers as illegal and illegitimate. They affirmed their readiness to consider appropriate targeted measures in response. Foreign ministers recalled that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements remain essential. They also highlighted the EU’s continued humanitarian engagement in Eastern Ukraine, addressing the needs of those most affected by the conflict.
Ministers touched upon the EU’s support for the reform process in Ukraine. The EU and Ukraine will have the opportunity to review the progress on reforms, as well as many other issues of relevance for bilateral and global cooperation, at their forthcoming Association Council meeting scheduled for 17 December 2018.
Security and defence
Foreign ministers were joined by defence ministers for a discussion on EU cooperation in security and defence. They reviewed the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in this area, including the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), the coordinated annual review on defence (CARD), the European defence fund, military mobility, the military planning and conduct capability (MPCC), the civilian CSDP compact and the proposal for a European Peace Facility.
The Council adopted conclusions on security and defence.
Compliments of the European Commission