Category Archives: diplomacy

EUCO: EU-Turkey relations on rocks

10.12.2020 Brussels The EU top diplomat Josep BoTrrell upon arrival at the European Council made the following remarks:

“We have three important [external affairs] items today on the agenda of the European Union Council: we have Turkey, once again; we have our relations with the US and the prospects of the new presidency; and we have the Southern Neighbourhood”.

“The Southern Neighbourhood is a very important part of the world for us. We are closely working with them in order to push for their progress but we have to do more. I hope that the debate in the Council today will provide guidelines for this continued effort and to prepare the [Joint] Communication that the Commission will put forward in February.

“We have just celebrated the anniversary of the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona. This was also an important event and I will inform the Council about this meeting.

“We are also going to discuss the relationship with the US – the prospects for the new administration, how to engage with them. We hope that this is going to be a more positive one. It has been a bumpy road in the last years, and there is a lot of hope for the future work between the European Union and the US.

“On Turkey, the Foreign Affairs Council reviewed the latest events and we cannot provide a positive assessment. The behaviour of Turkey has not changed fundamentally. We can even say that, from some points of view, things have been worsening. The assessment is not a positive one and we have to deal with it”.

Michel invites Biden to Brussels

Brussels 30.11.2020 President of the European Council Charles Michel has invited the U.S. for a Summit in persona or virtual in the first half of 2021, an EU official said, adding the representatives from the EU countries with the rank of ambassador to the European Union (Coreper) will have a discussion on Monday, November 30, to prepare the European Council on strategic debate on relations between the U.S and the EU, based on a “non-paper” sent out on Friday, which includes five building blocks.
The official also underlined that the European Council president will hold consultations as of next week with all EU leaders on the topic of the EU-U.S. relations, constructed on “building blocks”: fighting the COVID-19 pandemic; enhancing economic recovery; combating climate change;upholding multilateralism and shared values; promoting peace and security.

The official added that Charles Michel and his team are currently in close contact with NATO Secretary General NATO Jens Stoltenberg to see if they can arrange a common visit.

The President of the European Council Charles Michel spoke Monday 23 November 2020 with the US President-elect Joe Biden and congratulated him on his election as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as the future Vice-President. During the call President Michel proposed to rebuild a strong transatlantic alliance based on common interests and shared values. He welcomed the strong commitment of the President-elect Biden to America’s allies and his support for European cooperation.

President Michel has already invited the President-elect Joe Biden to a special meeting with the members of the European Council in Brussels in 2021 to discuss shared priorities.

The EU stands ready to tackle together with the US today’s pressing challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, climate change, security, and multilateralism, Michel said.

“Now is the time to join forces. In a changing world, our partnership will be more important than ever to protect our citizens, relaunch our economies, stop global warming and create a safer world. The EU and the US will always have more impact when taking steps together” Charles Michel said.

President Michel also thanked the President-elect for his clear support regarding the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement the EU concluded with the UK last year. This agreement preserves peace and stability in Ireland and fully respects the Good Friday Agreement.

EU Action plan on Human rights

Brussels 19.11.2020 The Council has approved conclusions on the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024. The Action Plan sets out the EU’s level of ambition and priorities in this field in its relations with all third countries.

With this Action Plan, the Council reaffirms the EU’s strong commitment to further advancing universal values for all.

The conclusions acknowledge that while there have been leaps forward, there has also been a pushback against the universality and indivisibility of human rights. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences have had an increasingly negative impact on all human rights, democracy and rule of law, deepening pre-existing inequalities and increasing pressure on persons in vulnerable situations.

No one should be left behind, no human right ignored. To this end the EU and its member states will use the full range of their instruments, in all areas of external action, to focus on and further strengthen EU’s global leadership in the field of human rights and democracy and in the implementation of the EU Action Plan.

In 2012, the EU adopted the Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy which set out the principles, objectives and priorities designed to improve the effectiveness and consistency of EU policy in these areas. To implement the EU Strategic Framework of 2012, the EU has adopted two EU Action Plans (2012-2014 and 2015-2019).

The new Action Plan for 2020-2024 builds on the previous action plans and continues to focus on long-standing priorities such as supporting human rights defenders and the fight against the death penalty.

By identifying five overarching priorities: (1) protecting and empowering individuals; (2) building resilient, inclusive and democratic societies; (3) promoting a global system for human rights and democracy; (4) new technologies: harnessing opportunities and addressing challenges; and (5) delivering by working together, the Action Plan also reflects the changing context with attention to new technologies and to the link between global environmental challenges and human rights.

Borrell “shocked” by France Consulate attack

Brussels, 29.10.2020 The head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell is “deeply shocked” by the barbaric attacks perpetrated in Nice, Avignon, and at the Consulate of France in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Djeddah.
“My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. We are alongside the French and France.
Together, in Europe and in the world, we will fight hatred and terror”

Today three people have been killed in a knife attack at a church Notre Dame in the heart of Nice, police say.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said there had been a “terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica”.
One elderly victim who had come to pray was “virtually beheaded”. A suspect was shot and detained shortly afterwards, and three victims identified: a 30-year-old woman, mother of young children; the sacristan of the basilica, about 45 years old, slain; 70-year-old woman, a regular church-goer, beheaded.

Mayor Estrosi spoke of “Islamo-fascism” and said the suspect had “repeated endlessly ‘Allahu Akbar’, while stabbing with knife the congregation. Reportedly there are also “many wounded”, however there are not further details available at the moment. President Macron has arrived to Nice without delay, and was greeted by the Mayor Estrosi.

The attack in Avignon has failed, and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the building of Consulate of France a security agent was injured. According to the Saudi press agency, the perpetrator, a forty year old man, was immediately arrested, while the security agent of the French consulate was transferred to hospital for treatment required, he does not suffer life-threatening injuries.

However “maximum vigilance” is recommended to French nationals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Borrell warns Erdogan against isolation

Brussels, 25.10.2020 Today the head of the European Union (EU) diplomacy Josep Borrell reacted upon the inflammatory rhetoric of President Erdogan, warning him against international isolation of Turkey as the direct result of the confrontational policy. The EU top diplomat considered the remarks of the Turkish head of state were “unacceptable”, and called on Ankara to “stop this dangerous spiral”. (Image: archive)

The diplomat reminded President Erdogan about the recent conclusions of the European Council containing a “real offer” to relaunch our relationship. He has underlined that “political will” from the Turkish authorities is needed on this positive agenda. Otherwise, Turkey will be even more isolated.

Paris said it was recalling its envoy to Ankara H.E.Hervé MAGRO for consultations after comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggesting French counterpart Emmanuel Macron needed a “mental health” treatment that quai d’Orsay condemned as unacceptable.

President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a plan to defend France’s secular values against “Islamist radicalism”, adding that Islam was a religion “in crisis”. The assessment caused a vivid reaction among Muslim communities across the world, calling for boycotting French export products.

Three weeks ago the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told reporters that the EU wanted “a positive and constructive relationship with Turkey and this would be also be very much in Ankara’s interest”.
The EU top executive also warned that it would only work if the “provocations and pressures stop.”

“We therefore expect that Turkey from now on abstains from unilateral actions. In case of such renewed actions by Ankara, the EU will use all its instruments and options available. We have a toolbox that we can apply immediately.” The statements were issued int he context of the Ankara unilateral actions in the eastern Mediterranean, while Greece and Cyprus are in a standoff with Turkey over exploratory drilling in the sea.

Armenia accuses Turkey in terrorism export

Brussels 21.10.2020 Armenian President Armen Sarkissian assess Nagorno-Karabach conflict as a regional threat, and accuses Turkey of being the major obstacle to peaceful solution to the conflict.
During his visit to the NATO HQ in Brussels, the President agrees there is no military solution for the conflict:
«We are lucky that we have platform of the OSCE Minsk group, with the three co-charis United States, France and Russia, and I appreciate work of all co-chairs, the Presidents of these three countries, and recent efforts of Russian Federation, and President Putin, and Minister Lavrov» the President of Armenia said.
However he regretted that there was no trilateral meeting possible in Moscow, and the parties had to meet in bilateral talks, and «the war continues in and around Nagorno-Karabach». He aslo added that the military actions against civilians are unacceptable.

The Armenian President has underlined his concerns about the role of NATO ally – Turkey.
«…It looks sometimes that it is no longer conflict with Republic of Artsakh, or people of Nagorno-Karabach and Azerbaijan, but there is a third party as well, supporting Azerbaijan both politically, diplomatically, heavliy militarily, a third party that had supported and brought to the area Islamic terrorists; and unfortunately the third party is a member of NATO» the President of Armenia concluded.

«I belive if Turkey stops being part of the conflict, that will contribute to the cease-fire, and to understanding that there should be peaceful solution. I belive we will reach the seaze-fire there, and hopefully and after that go back to the negotiations at the table of the Minsk group, and finally find a peaceful solution for the conflict» the President underlined.

The hosting meeting Secretary General of NATO said the Alliance does not take side in the conflict.

«It is important for NATO and the international community, that the hostilities end» Jens Stoltenberg said, underlinying that the suffering should stop and the peaceful solution is found. «It is vital that all side now show restraint, observe the seaze-fire and de-escalate. Any targeting of civilians is unacceptable and must stop».
He underlined that the key is to find a sustainable solution.
The efforts of the co-chairs of the Minsk group «remain essential» Stoltenberg concluded.

None of the leaders accpeted the questions after the statements.

Armenia President visits Brussels

Brussels, 21.10.2020 NATO During two-days unexpected visit the Armenian President has met the leading EU officials, and Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, who told Armenian President Armen Sarkissian that the allies do not take sides in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The German Press Agency (dpa) reported that Stoltenberg expressed NATO’s neutrality on the issue to Sarkissian, who visited the NATO headquarters to convince the Alliance to do “everything possible to stop the Azerbaijani and the NATO member Turkey’s military actions.”

Sarkissian visited Brussels in attempt to receive support from the Western military alliance and the European Union amid the ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan over disputed Nagorno-Karabach mountain region, recognised by the international community as an integral part of Azerbaijan.

Sarkissian has visited Brussels to meet NATO’s chief Stoltenberg, European Council President Charles Michel and the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell.

Michel in his meeting with the Armenian president repeated the EU’s “deepest concern about ongoing fighting with major humanitarian costs,” according to a statement on his Twitter micro blog. The president of the EU Council called for an immediate observance of a renewed cease-fire that went into effect at the weekend.

Hundreds of victims of the conflict have been reported from each side since September 27 when it began abruptly, causing major confrontation since the times of the collapse of the USSR.

EU regrets Lukashenko demands

“The demand of the Belarusian authorities that Poland and Lithuania withdraw their ambassadors and significantly reduce their diplomatic representations in Minsk is unfounded and regrettable. It goes against the logic of dialogue and will only further isolate the authorities in Minsk” reads the statement of the EU lead spokesperson.

“Attempts by the Belarusian authorities to target certain EU Member States will not succeed in weakening EU unity, which was clearly reaffirmed by the European Council on 1 October when all EU Member States called on the Belarusian authorities to end violence and repression, release all detainees and political prisoners, respect media freedom and civil society, and start an inclusive national dialogue” 

“The EU continues to support the democratic right of the Belarusian people to elect their President through new free and fair elections, without external interference” the statement concludes.

Belarus authorities announced sanctions against the European Union on October 2 in retaliation to restrictive measures agreed by European leaders hours before over the sham presidential election.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry’s statement accused the EU of “striving towards the deterioration of relations with us” and imposed its own set of sanctions against the bloc.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 2 he was sure the problems that had emerged in Belarus after the presidential elections would be settled soon, the Kremlin press service said after his telephone conversation with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko.

“The presidents also discussed various aspects of the post-election situation in Belarus in the context of the ongoing attempts of outside interference. Confidence was expressed that the current problems will soon be settled,” the press service said, adding that the telephone conversation was initiated by the Belarusian side.

Borrell meets Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Brussels, 21.09.2020 Ahead of the Foreign ministers Council the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarus opposition politician in exile: “We met with Sviatlana #Tsikhanouskaya ahead of #FAC. The EU has no hidden agenda. Belarusian people should be able to freely choose their president, without persecution and repression. Only an inclusive national dialogue can lead to a peaceful and sustainable solution #Belarus” the head of the EU diplomacy wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

The situation in Belrus after the sham elections is one of three major issues for discussion with EU Foreign Ministers. The other key topics for the EU diplomacy are “positive momentum” in Libya and relations with the African Union.

EU condemns Novichok attack on Navalny

“The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny“,read the text of the Russia: Statement by the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny addressed to Russia.

“The toxicological analysis carried out by a specialised laboratory of the German armed forces proves that Mr Navalny was poisoned by a military-grade chemical nerve agent of the “Novichok” group, developed by the Soviet Union and later, Russia. The use of chemical weapons under any circumstances is completely unacceptable and a breach of international law.

“It is essential that the Russian government investigates thoroughly and in a transparent manner the assassination attempt of Mr Navalny. Alexei Navalny’s case must not go unresolved. Those responsible must be brought to justice.

“We are grateful to the staff of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin hospital in Berlin for their treatment of Mr Navalny and wish him a prompt and full recovery.The European Union will continue to closely follow the issue and discuss its implications”.

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