Tag Archives: Borrell

Borrell travels to Ukraine

Brussels 21.09.2020 On Tuesday 22 September, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, will pay an official visit to Kyiv, Ukraine.

The EU top diplomat will meet with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, before a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, which will be followed by a press conference at c.14:15 CET, shown on EbS. During his visit, the High Representative/Vice-President will also hold meetings with the Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Andrii Taran, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in¬-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group, Heidi Grau, and the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Yaşar Halit Çevik. He will also meet with members of civil society and the Ukrainian parliament to discuss anti-corruption developments in Ukraine. In light of the EU’s unprecedented support package(link is external) to Ukraine to support its response to the coronavirus pandemic, including EU-funded personal protective equipment, High Representative Borrell will also pay a visit to the Kyiv Regional Laboratory.

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.

Borrell:”Navalny sanctions”

We continue calling on Russia to investigate this crime through a fully transparent procedure, under the auspices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We can expect that the poisoning of Mr [Alexei] Navalny will have an impact on European Union-Russia relations. We are going to discuss that in the next Foreign Affairs Council” said the head of the EU diplomacy, addressing the European Parliament plenary debate.

Some of you talk about the possibility of this affecting Nord Stream 2. Once again, this is something that is outside of the possibilities of the European institutions. What I can tell you is that the European Commission has never shown a lot of enthusiasm about this pipeline, which from the Commission we have been considering as not a relevant priority infrastructure. But it is something that is up to the Member States that have been pushing for this infrastructure to be built. As I said, there is the scepticism of the Commission, which has never shown strong support for it“.

“Finally, about the possibility of sanctioning Russia with a kind of “Magnitsky-style” [human rights sanctions] regime: When I took office, I immediately launched [negotiations for] a global human rights sanctions regime, which has been discussed once again at the last Foreign Affairs Council. [There are] continued discussions in the Council. The legal acts are currently being drafted.

“I hope that what has happened to Mr Navalny will represent an encouragement for Member States to stop discussing and start acting and approving this human rights sanctions regime that, in the same way that the Americans call it the “Magnitsky Act”, we could call it the “Navalny sanctions regime”. This could be a good way of taking stock of what has happened and keep in the records for the future the name of Mr Navalny associated to a sanctions regime for people who violated human rights”.

EU for dialogue in East Mediterranean

On August 14 via a teleconference the EU Ministers of Foreign affaris discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, following a grave deterioration of the security situation in recent days.

Three words reflect the outcome of the discussion: solidarity, de-escalation, and dialogue.

Solidarity:

Ministers reaffirmed the EU’s full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. They reiterated that sovereign rights of EU Member States must be respected. They recalled EU common positions and the previous Council Conclusions of 22 March 2018 and June, July, October, December 2019, in addition to the Statement on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean of 15 May 2020.

At the same time, Ministers stressed that the serious deterioration in the relationship with Turkey is having far-reaching strategic consequences for the entire EU, well beyond the Eastern Mediterranean.

De-escalation:

Ministers stressed in particular that recent naval mobilisations by Turkey do not contribute to finding any solutions. On the contrary, they will lead to greater antagonism and distrust. They create a heightened risk of dangerous incidents. Immediate de-escalation by Turkey was considered crucial.

Dialogue:

Ministers recalled the importance they attach to relations with Turkey. They underlined that issues related to delimitation of maritime boundaries and exploitation of resources therein can only be addressed through dialogue and negotiation, in good faith, in accordance with international law and in pursuit of the principle of good neighbourly relations, and not through unilateral actions and the mobilisation of naval forces.

Ministers recalled the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council of 13 July. They reiterated strong support for the High Representative’s efforts to re-establish dialogue and facilitate re-engagement with Turkey. At the same time, the High Representative/Vice-President is to prepare options on further appropriate measures in case tensions do not abate.

A broader discussion about relations with Turkey will be held later in August, at the Gymnich.

France has been presented by Clement Beaune, the Secretary of State in charge for the European affairs.

EU: Belarus elections «falsified»

The EU Foreign Ministers addressed the Belarusian Presidential elections that took place on 9 August.

“Ministers reiterated their repeated call to the Belarusian authorities to stop the disproportionate and unacceptable violence against peaceful protesters. The EU expects the authorities to release immediately all unlawfully detained persons. In light of shocking reports of inhumane treatment and detention conditions, the European Union expects a thorough and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses, in order to hold those responsible to account.

“During their discussions, the Ministers sent a strong signal of the EU’s support to the Belarusian population in their desire for democratic change. The Ministers noted the exceptional work of the domestic election observers, whose reporting, in the absence of international election observers, has been crucial in helping to reveal the true picture regarding last Sunday’s elections. They discussed how to support this vital work.

“The Ministers reiterated that the elections were neither free nor fair. The European Union considers the results to have been falsified and therefore does not accept the results of the election as presented by the Belarus Central Election Commission. The European Union will therefore put forward to the Belarusian authorities a proposal for EU support in in establishing and facilitating a dialogue between the political authorities, opposition and broader society in view of resolving the current crisis. The High Representative/Vice-President and his services will begin work on this proposal immediately.

“Ministers also agreed on the need to sanction those responsible for violence, repression and the falsification of election results. The work on additional listings within the existing sanctions framework for Belarus will start immediately.

“The Ministers expressed appreciation for the work of journalists in the difficult conditions that they are facing and condemned attacks on and detentions of journalists, including EU citizens.

“The Ministers agreed to revert to reviewing EU-Belarus relations at their upcoming informal meeting end of August. As part of this review, the European Union will look at how to increase its support to the Belarusian people, including through enhanced engagement with and financial support to civil society, additional support to independent media, and increasing opportunities for student and academic mobility”.

Image: archive

Borrell condemns violence in Belarus

The Presidential elections took place in the Republic of Belarus on 9 August. The European Union had repeatedly expressed its expectations on the proper conduct of these elections.

“The election night was marred with disproportionate and unacceptable state violence against peaceful protesters. This reportedly resulted in the loss of life of one citizen and many others have been injured. We condemn the violence and call for the immediate release of all detained during last night. The Belarusian authorities must ensure that the fundamental right of peaceful assembly is respected” reads the Joint Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on the Presidential elections in Belarus.

“Following their unprecedented mobilisation for free elections and democracy, the Belarusian people now expect their votes to be counted accurately. It is essential that the Central Electoral Commission publishes the results reflecting the choice of the Belarusian people.

“Only upholding human rights, democracy, and free and fair elections will guarantee stability and sovereignty in Belarus. We will continue to closely follow the developments in order to assess how to further shape the EU’s response and relations with Belarus in view of the developing situation”.

Protesters and riot police have clashed in Minsk and other cities, after a state TV exit poll said long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner in Sunday’s election.

Police used stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon. A human rights group said one protester was killed and the are hundreds of arrested, however due to the internet disruptions there are significant difficultes to obtain full information about the police actions.

According to the state media Mr Lukashenko won 80% of the vote, based on the preliminary count.
But the main opposition leader has Svetlana Tikhanovskaya refused to recognise the results.
“We have already won, because we have overcome our fear, our apathy and our indifference,” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said.

The preliminary results give her 9.9% of the vote, but her campaign said she had been polling 70-80% in some areas.
Ms Tikhanovskaya entered the election in place of her jailed husband and went on to lead large opposition rallies.

Mr Lukashenko, 65, has been in power since 1994.

Image above: BelsatTV

Borrell urges Belarus to respect political rights

The presidential elections in Belarus will take place this Sunday, 9 August, and early voting has already started.

“During the electoral campaign, the Belarusian people have shown unprecedented political mobilisation in favour of free elections and democracy. The peaceful mobilisation of the society has been met so far with unacceptable further restrictions on freedoms of media and assembly, as well as with detentions of peaceful protesters, domestic observers, journalists and activists, reads the Statement by High Representative Josep Borrell ahead of the Presidential Elections.

The country’s sovereignty and independence can only be strengthened by peaceful, free and fair elections. The EU continues to call on the Belarusian authorities to ensure that fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, in line with Belarus’ international commitments, are respected.

“The EU appeals to the Belarusian authorities to guarantee the exercise of full political rights of the candidates, to avoid using force against peaceful protesters, to refrain from further detentions of elections observers, peaceful protesters, candidates and members of their teams and immediately release all activists, human rights defenders, bloggers and journalists detained on political grounds.

“The EU remains committed to strengthening its engagement with the Belarusian people. We support the independence and sovereignty of Belarus, while human rights and democracy will remain at the forefront of the EU’s considerations when shaping its policy towards the country”.

Mariani MEP: Crimean Tatars used for political purposes

Thierry MARIANI Member of the European Parliament (France, Identity & Democracy group) compares the EU policy of support to Islamist groups in Crimea to the U.S. failed strategy in Afghanistan, using the Taliban as a weapon against the USSR. The MEP’s reaction followed the European diplomacy demand of the immediate release of seven men arrested in Crimea on July 9, accused by Russian prosecution of terrorist activities as members of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami.

Mariani places the reaction of the EU within the context of Brussels policy vis-à-vis Russia, reminding the procedure of the audition of Josep Borrell at the European Parliament, when the future head of the European diplomacy devoted a considerable amount of time to Russia, assigning to it the status of number one foe for the period of his future mandate.

Russia is primary, and the terrorism is secondary, that what M.Borrell thinks“, Mariani underlined, characterising the position of the EU chief of diplomacy. The demand of the immediate liberation of the presumed Hizb ut-Tahrir members, the organisation banned in Germany and the majority of Arab countries, MEP described the as the “continuous obsession” with Russia. Subsequently within this political frame everything that happens in Russia is to be “condemned“, and this goes beyond Russia, reflecting in EU global politics in assessment of different militant groups, par example, in Syria, which in spite of the open terrorist orientation, have been supported by the EU, just because they were enemies of Russia.

“It is the same dangerous game, the Occident has been playing in the 1980-s, when via Pakistani secret services they have been supporting the Islamist organisation in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. As soon as they were armed, they have not stopped, and look what happens to Afghanistan today” Mariani resumed.

“It is a dangerous mentality considering the enemies of our enemies being by definition our friends” MEP continued. But in reality the “enemies of our enemies” are even more dangerous than our enemies of the first ranks. However the handicap of this policy is also losing out of sight the threat of Islamists, and new challenges, for example rising power of China, Mariani underlined. As the result of this policy the “obsession” with Russia prevails over the proper interests of Europe.

Mariani referred to the consequences of his policy of favouring “enemies of enemies” seen by French recently in a wave of urban violence caused by clashes between Maghreb and Chechen gangs in the streets of Dijon (Burgundy). The events became a moment of revelation, when French discovered that Chechens, who were received as “political refugees” for decades, omitting the fact that some of them were fighting for establishing the Caliphate in Caucasus.

To my regret today the minority of Crimea is used for political purposes” Mariani said.

Considering the situation of the Crimea Tatars, it is clearly improved in comparison to the Ukrainian period, Mariani said, underlining that after the referendum (16.03.2014) all three languages of the three communities of the peninsula – Russian, Ukrainian, and Tatar, – have received equal official status, while during period within Ukrainian sovereignty the uni lingual policy had been conducted.

MEP Mariani has visited Crimea more than twenty times in his capacity of the Member of French Parliament (Assemblée nationale) during 25 years to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers (1872) there. Near Sevastopol lies the biggest military cemetery outside France, and the memorial to more than 90 thousands of slain warriors. As a Member of the parliament Mariani supervised the restoration works at the cemetery, and had an opportunity to observe the situation on Peninsula during the Ukrainian period. Chair of a group of “Friends of Russia” at certain moment Mariani has “stopped to count” the trips to Crimea.

AMENDMENT: Original video in French language from European Parliament Brussels

AMENDEMENT: Statement by the Spokesperson on human rights violations against and the illegal detention of Crimean Tatars by the Russian Federation.

Borrell «regrets» Hagia Sophia transformation

«Hagia Sophia has a strong symbolic, historical and universal value. Turkey has developed a well-established tradition of cultural conservation as well as a recognised tradition of intellectual and cultural openness. The ruling by the Turkish Council of State to overturn one of modern Turkey’s landmark decisions and President Erdoğan‘s decision to place the monument under the management of the Religious Affairs Presidency, is regrettable. As a founding member of the Alliance of Civilisations, Turkey has committed to the promotion of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and to fostering of tolerance and co-existence» reads the text of the declaration of the top EU diplomat Josep Borrell.

Unlike the French Minister of Foreign Affaris Jean-Yves Le Drian, Borrell continues to name the Christian baslilque by its Turkish name «Hagia Sophia» while French diiplomacy is refering to the site under its original name «Saint Sophia». The EU diplomacy position also differs, while pointing to universal, historic, and cultural value, omitting the religious symbolism of the basilique for Orthodx Chrisitanity.

Borrell condemns Iran belligerent rhetoric

EU top diplomat and security chief Josep Borrell condemned the belligerent declaration of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has treated to Israel:

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the call by the Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei to fight Israel. This is a threat to international peace and security. The security of Israel is of paramount importance and the EU will stand at its side” the diplomat wrote in a statement on his Twitter micro blog.

The reaction of the EU diplomacy came after the announcement of the Supreme leader to support and assist “any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights” Israel.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei will deliver a speech on the occasion of the “International #QudsDay, which falls on May 22″, according to the Press TV channel.

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