On the margins of the multilateral conference in New Delhi, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif. For Borrell it was the first meeting with Zarif in his EU High Representative capacity on Thursday, 16 January 2020 in New Delhi.
In a frank dialogue, they discussed the latest developments around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Josep Borrell underlined the continued interest of the European Union to preserve the agreement, which is now more important than ever, in light of the dangerous escalations in the Middle East and the Gulf region.
Both partners agreed to remain in close touch and continue their engagement in the coming weeks.
High Representative Borrell and Minister Zarif met in the Indian capital on the margins of the Raisina Dialogue 2020, which is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.
Their meeting follows a series of contacts they had since the start of the current crisis on 3 January.
The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said that the recent developments in Iran and Iraq and the whole region are “extremely worrying”.
Subsequently the current situation puts at risk the efforts of the past years and also has implications for the “important work” of the Global Coalition Against Daesh, Borrell underlined.
“The latest rocket attacks on air bases in Iraq used by the U.S. and the coalition forces, among them European forces, are yet another example of escalation and increased confrontation. It is in no one’s interest to turn up the spiral of violence even further” the diplomat said.
The EU diplomacy reacted upon the developments in Middle East with an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on January 10 to discuss what the European Union “can do in the short-, medium- and long-term to help stabilise the region”.
The EU diplomat refered to the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) with Iran as “more important than ever” because of it uniqueness in international relations, offering multilateral format of cooperation with Russia and China on the issues of security and non-proliferation.
Borrell has invited the Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran Javad Zarif to Brussels.
“Maybe we will have a meeting soon in order to analyse together the situation of this agreement, into which the European Union has put a lot of effort in order to maintain it after the withdrawal of the United States” the diplomat said.
Once again he confirmed being “in touch” with all participants as coordinator to keep the “unity” of the group, of the European countries represented in the work of the JCPoA, and the importance of the full implementation by all parties.
The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has called for an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council with the Member States on Friday afternoon, 10 January, to discuss recent developments in Iraq and Iran.
“EU will play its full role to seek de-escalation of tensions in the region”, Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.
Initially the Council of Foreign Affairs was scheduled on 20 January 2020.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy announces the intention to appoint two new Heads of EU Delegations. They will be formally appointed following receipt of the agréments:
• Olof SKOOG has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations. He is currently Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations.
• Sven KUEHN VON BURGSDORFF has been nominated as Head of the EU Office to West Bank and Gaza Strip. He is currently Senior Advisor on Mediation to the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Common Security Defence Policy-Crisis Response, European External Action Service (EEAS).
“The State Duma of the Russian Federation this week passed, in the third and final reading, a legislative act widening the scope of the already existing “foreign agent” media law, under which also individuals may be recognised as “foreign agents” says the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson.
“The European Union has repeatedly said that the existing Russian legislation on labelling both NGOs and media outlets as “foreign agents” imposes additional administrative and financial burden as well as stigmatises the media or NGO concerned, thus restricting the exercise of fundamental freedoms. This practice clearly goes against Russia’s human rights obligations and commitments.
“Taking into account the already limited space for free media in the country, a further extension of the scope of the legislation is yet another worrying step against free and independent media and access to information as well as further attempt to silence independent voices in Russia.
“We support the call by OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media for Russian lawmakers to abandon the law”.
Image above: Moscow, Russia
“Rising tensions along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) of break-away South Ossetia in Georgia are completely unacceptable. So are factually incorrect statements from within South Ossetia concerning security actions and developments on the ground, which only fuel further tensions” says the statement of the European Action Service spokesperson.
“The European Union calls on all relevant actors to show maximum restraint and refrain from any steps or statements that could escalate the situation. Instead, mechanisms put in place to prevent incidents and find solutions – such as the Hotline, the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Ergneti (IPRM) and Geneva International Discussions – must be consistently used. In addition, crossing points closed since early September should be reopened without delay. All these represent the best way for finding solutions to current security, humanitarian and other problems caused by the situation along the ABL.
“The EU Monitoring Mission as the only international presence on the ground plays a key role in the ongoing work to stabilise the situation. The attempts from within South Ossetia, both in action and through statements, to prevent the Mission’s work and restrict its mandate are deplorable and must stop.
“The European Union remains fully committed to peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia and reiterates its firm support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.”
An extraordinary meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took place in Vienna on 28 July 2019 upon the request of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The meeting was held in order to discuss the need regarding the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA in all its aspects.
The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini, by EEAS Secretary General Helga-Maria Schmid and was attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran at the level of Political Directors/Deputy Foreign Ministers.
Participants reaffirmed their continued commitment to preserving the JCPOA. They recalled that both nuclear commitments and sanctions-lifting are essential parts of the agreement. They also re-iterated the commitments contained in chair’s statements issued after previous Joint Commissions and, in particular, to continue discussions at expert level on sanctions-lifting and nuclear issues.
Participants reaffirmed their strong support and collective responsibility for the nuclear projects, in particular Arak and Fordow, which are an essential part of the JCPOA in order to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
It was agreed that a meeting of the Joint Commission at ministerial level would be convened in the near future.