Tag Archives: Borrell

Borrell heads to Washington D.C.

Brussels 13.10.2021 The European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell will travel to Washington D.C. from 13 to 15 October for a number of high-level meetings focused on the relationship between the EU and the USA, on advancing the Transatlantic agenda and on pressing international developments. This will be the first official visit by Borrell to Washington since the new US administration took up office. It takes place in the follow-up to a number of contacts already held by the EU diplomat and his US counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and in the follow-up to the EU-US summit held in Brussels in June.

In his talks with US partners Borrell will underline that strong alliance between the EU and US is key for addressing global challenges, such as pandemic and economic recovery, climate change and democratic backsliding, as well as to continue to uphold common values, ensure global security and prosperity.

On Thursday, 14 October Borrell will meet with Blinken to discuss current foreign policy issues and initiatives to deepen further the EU-US strategic partnership and advance an already close cooperation on foreign and security policy.

Later on, the EU diplomat will hold meetings with the US Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks to discuss how to pursue enhanced bilateral cooperation in the field of security and defence.

IRAQ: EU deploys Observation Mission

Brussels 13.09.2021 In response to an invitation by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in Iraq, the European Union has decided to deploy an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the legislative elections scheduled in Iraq for 10 October.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, has appointed Mrs. Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer of this EU Electoral Observation Mission.

The mission will produce a public report with recommendations, based on an objective assessment of the campaign and the voting, with a view to help in further improving the electoral framework in Iraq.

“I am glad that responding to Iraq’s request, the European Union will deploy its first ever Election Observation Mission to the country. I just visited Iraq and discussed the importance of these polls. We want to support the strengthening of Iraqi democracy through Iraqi-led and Iraqi-owned inclusive and participatory elections. Our observation mission is a clear manifestation of solidarity and support to the Iraqi people and of our solid partnership with Iraq” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said.

The Chief Observer Mrs. Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel said: “I am proud to have been appointed Chief Observer of the EU EOM for the Iraqi elections in October. These polls will be an important milestone in Iraq’s democratic build-up. A peaceful and secure run up of the electoral process is key to ensure that all candidates, political activists, journalists, human rights defenders and the electorate can fully exercise their democratic rights and freedoms. This will be key for the success of these important elections.”

The core team of the EU EOM consists of 12 election experts who arrived to Baghdad and Erbil on 28 August. In mid-September, 20 long-term observers will join the mission and will be deployed in different areas of the country. During election day, the mission will be reinforced with local short-term observers coming from EU Member States’ diplomatic missions present in Iraq. The EU EOM will remain in the country until the completion of the electoral process, including counting and appeals.

In line with the EU’s election observation methodology, the mission will issue a preliminary statement and hold a press conference in Baghdad after the elections. The final report, which will include a set of recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented and shared with stakeholders after the finalisation of the entire electoral process.

Borrell visits Kurdistan

Brussels 07.09.2021 “…It would be impossible to visit Iraq without paying strong attention to the Kurdistan region” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, during his meeting with the President of the Kurdistan region of Iraq Nechirvan Barzani.

“We have had a very productive discussion about many issues of mutual interest. The President has referred to them and I am most grateful, President, for the great insights that we have had during our discussion.

“We know that the region has witnessed difficult times. Difficult times in the past and many challenges remain. I am here to express, on behalf of the European Union, our solidarity and support. The European Union is and will be still more a friend and a partner.

 

“In these difficult times, the Kurdistan Region plays a crucial role in ensuring stability in Iraq and in the wider region. We, therefore, attach high importance to the relations between the leadership in Erbil and the Federal authorities in Baghdad.

“We understand the difficulties and encourage all efforts to resolve existing differences and ensure good cooperation. And we are ready also to try to help on that.

“In my discussion with the President I had the opportunity to acknowledge and commend the important contribution by the Kurdistan Regional Government in the efforts of the Global Coalition against Da’esh.

“The important contribution of the Kurdistan people in terms of casualties suffered and the courage of your soldiers have been decisive in the fight against Da’esh.

“We, in the European Union, remain firmly committed to this Global Coalition, to continue working with partners, as the job to end Da’esh is unfortunately not finished given the repeated attacks in the recent times.

“In this context, I am pleased to announce that this summer we have expanded our European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM) by opening a permanent presence here in Erbil. Our team is ready to provide advice and expertise on civilian security sector reform to the Kurdistan Regional Government, President. Talks have already started in the areas in which our support can be useful for you.

“I also commended the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for the momentous generosity and responsibility you have shown giving refuge to so many persons internally displaced by Da’esh, among them many Christians and Yazidis. The figures, President, are impressive. You were able to receive in six months two million refugees, which represents one third of your population. I do not think there is another example of such a big effort receiving people and helping them. I know how much money and efforts it has cost and I have to praise you and the Kurdistan society for this extreme effort of solidarity. We tried to support you as much as we can. Since 2019, about 240,000 people in Iraq have benefitted from European Union management services in their camps. And we also support projects aiming to improve relationship between Internally Displaced Persons and local communities.

“We also had the opportunity to talk and to exchange on regional issues of mutual interest and concern. This Region is located in a very complicated neighborhood. In that context, and bearing also in mind recent developments – I am thinking of Afghanistan – we discussed the migration file, very important for us and for all Member States of the European Union”.

EU needs more “European Defence”

Brussels 02.09.2021 “Today, we are going to have a meeting that will be dominated by the events in Afghanistan. Afghanistan will be the backdrop of our discussions today” said the High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival to Informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers.

“I think that it is clear that the need for more ‘European Defence’ has never been as evident as today – after the events in Afghanistan. I am sure that the Ministers will discuss how to face this new situation and how we can be more prepared for future challenges.

“The Strategic Compass is a work in progress. In a couple of months, I think we will be able to present the report of our work, but sometimes there are events that catalyse the history. Something happens and pushes the history, it creates a breakthrough. I think that the events in Afghanistan this summer are one of these cases.

“I hope that today the discussion will be more lively and we will be more engaged on concrete results – no, [there will be no] decisions today, because it is an informal meeting, but to prepare, no later than October or November, the final draft of the Strategic Compass”.

According to Reuters news agency in the last call between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Afghanistan counterpart before the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, the leaders discussed military aid, political strategy and messaging tactics, but neither Biden nor Ashraf Ghani appeared aware of or prepared for the imminent danger of the entire country falling to feet of insurgents, a transcript reviewed is a convincing evidence of this lack of awareness.

The politicians spoke for roughly 14 minutes on July 23. On August 15, Ghani fled the presidential palace, and the Taliban entered Kabul. Since then, tens of thousands of desperate Afghans have fled and 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghan civilians were killed in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport during the frenetic U.S. military evacuation.

EU: Afghanistan Borrell Declaration

Brussels 17.08.2021 European Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs gathered today for an extraordinary meeting to consider the latest momentous developments in Afghanistan. The country finds itself at a crossroads after decades of conflict. The wellbeing and security of its citizens, political and human rights achievements, as well as regional and international security are at stake.

The negotiation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban offered the best chance to reach a solution that would guarantee security and peaceful coexistence within Afghanistan and in the region. The EU calls on all parties in Afghanistan to respect all commitments made and to pursue further an inclusive, comprehensive and enduring political solution. The protection and promotion of all human rights, in particular those of women and girls, must be an integral part of these efforts and women should be supported and able to contribute fully to this process.

The EU stresses the utmost importance of the safety and security of all EU citizens in Afghanistan, as well as local staff working for the EU or member states. Through strong coordination among member states, every possible effort is being made to ensure their security, including through the ongoing evacuation of staff and their families in need. The European Union will also pay special attention to those Afghans whose security might now be in jeopardy due to their principled engagement for our common values.

The EU calls for an immediate cessation of all violence, the restoration of security and civil order and the protection and respect for civilian life, dignity and property throughout Afghanistan. In this regard, the EU expresses deep concern about reports of serious human rights violations and abuses in areas across Afghanistan.

A comprehensive and inclusive political settlement and an enduring solution to the conflict should not be established by force, but through meaningful negotiations based on democracy, the rule of law and constitutional rule.

The EU recalls the importance of preserving and building on the political, economic and social achievements of the Afghan people since 2001, such as the rights of women, children and persons belonging to minorities, including access to education and health. Afghanistan as a signatory of the UN Charter must uphold and promote the values, rights and principles enshrined therein and honour its international obligations.

The EU aims to continue its support to the Afghan people and to democracy, good governance, human rights and social and economic development in the country, including efforts to prevent and manage the risks associated with an unstable Afghanistan in continued conflict, resulting in regional instability, drugs trafficking and uncontrolled irregular migration. In this context, EU engagement with its partners in Central Asia will be increasingly important. Combatting terrorism and preventing the use of Afghan territory by international terrorist groups remains at the core of the EU’s collective engagement in the country.

However, cooperation with any future Afghan government will be conditioned on a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and persons belonging to minorities, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations, commitment to the fight against corruption and preventing the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorist organisations.

To address the worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the European Union will continue to provide needs-based assistance to the Afghan people and calls on all actors to allow safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to Afghan women, men and children in need, including to the large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The EU calls on the Taliban to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances. The EU will also support Afghanistan’s neighbours in coping with negative spill overs, which are to be expected from an increasing flow of refugees and migrants.

EU committed to defeat Da’esh

Brussels 28.06.2021 “The EU remains firmly committed to the Global Coalition against Da’esh. The job is not yet finished in Iraq and Syria, where the core of Da’esh is still active, even if gone largely underground. Stabilisation and reconstruction are key to prevent its resurgence. We also see a growing influence of Da’esh in areas already made vulnerable by conflict, including West Africa and Mozambique. The pandemic and its impact on local economies are also creating new opportunities for Da’esh to exploit” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, while addressing in Rome the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition against Da’esh.

“This is why our collective action remains crucial to ensure sustainable progress” the diplomat continued.

“In Iraq, the EU has invested over €1.3 billion since 2014 in development, humanitarian and security assistance. Since 2017, we support civilian Security Sector Reform through an EU Advisory Mission (EUAM Iraq), with a team of up to 80 international staff. The mission works very closely with the Ministry of the Interior and will soon extend its presence also to Erbil.

“When I met with Foreign Minister [of Iraq, Fuad] Hussein last week, I also announced the deployment of an EU Election Observation Mission for the October elections.

“On Syria, we continue to push for a political solution in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We insist on the importance of non-normalisation with Syria in order to maintain pressure on the regime to engage in the UN process. In March, the EU co-chaired the 5th Syria Conference in Brussels to mobilise the international community in support of the Syrian people.

“The EU also supports the stabilisation of the North East with projects to build resilience against radicalisation, prevent violent extremism, and in support of vulnerable children and youth.

[The humanitarian and security conditions in the camps remain difficult. The EU visited the region last week and will launch new stabilisation assistance, including for camps and prisons.]

“Turning to Africa, I warmly welcome the new Coalition members from the African continent who join us for the first time today.

“In Sahel, we have to pay closer attention to the region: in Central Mali we see every day two grave security incidents causing deaths or injuries. This is of concern to all of us. For this reason, the EU is committed to keep up its military and civilian engagement. We have three [Common Security and Defence Policy] CSDP missions in the region, with around 1,000 staff to support host countries in the fight against terrorism. The EU also supports the G5 Sahel Joint Force and stabilisation efforts in support of local populations.

We again welcome a role for the Coalition in the Sahel region. A role that has to be played in close coordination with international efforts in the framework of the Coalition for the Sahel.

Finally, on Mozambique. The humanitarian and security situation in Cabo Delgado is rapidly deteriorating. At the request of the Mozambican government, the EU is finalising the planning for an EU military CSDP mission aimed at providing human-rights compliant training and capacity building to selected units of the Mozambican armed forces.

The EU is further engaged with humanitarian, development and stabilisation assistance adding up to nearly €60 million for projects to build confidence between security forces and local communities.

“Two years after the defeat of Da’esh by Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, it is clear that there is still much work to do. The EU will continue to do its part, together with the Global Coalition and its partners”.

EU: concerns about sexual violence

Brussels 18.06.2021 “One year ago, the UN Secretary-General called for a cessation of violence both on battlefields and in homes. Yet his latest report shows that conflict-related sexual violence has continued unabated during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains a cruel and widespread tactic of war, torture, terror and political repression,

reads the Joint Statement by EU High Representative, Josep Borrell and UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten. The statement is issued on June 18, referring to the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

(Image: illustration).

“The report records cases of sexual violence against women detained for alleged violations of curfews and quarantines, as well as violations by armed groups that have taken advantage of the pandemic to intensify their operations and gain ground. The pandemic has also laid bare the intersecting inequalities that plague our societies, as compounded by conflict, displacement, and institutional fragility.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact on women and girls of recent events, including the use of sexual violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and the persistent threat and occurrence of sexual violence in many countries affected by conflict, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as documented in the UN Secretary-General’s report.

“The level of compliance by all parties to conflict with international obligations, including relevant Security Council resolutions, remains low. Yet this does not deter us. We continue our work to implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda, to prevent conflict, and to uphold women’s rights, agency and safety.

“We urge all state and non-state parties to conflict to adopt specific commitments to address conflict-related sexual violence, which must include peacekeeping missions receiving the necessary budgetary allocations to properly implement their Women, Peace and Security mandates. The protection of survivors and a survivor-centred approach, including in terms of justice and reparations, is essential, particularly in fragile conflict-affected settings, and when survivors face multiple forms of stigma and discrimination.

“We are committed to keep strengthening our partnerships with civil society, women’s rights organisations, human rights defenders, peace builders and local and religious leaders. We look forward to the high-level meeting of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris on 30 June to 2 July, which provides an opportunity to accelerate the work to end sexual violence in peacetime, as well as during conflict by mobilising states and other stakeholders.

“Building back better in the wake of this pandemic requires political resolve and resources equal to the scale of the challenge. A gender-responsive and inclusive global recovery from COVID-19 should promote a new social contract in which no one in power is above the law, and no one rendered powerless is beneath its protection. Responses must be comprehensive, multisectoral, age-appropriate and survivor-centred, Survivors’ rights, needs and voices should inform national COVID-19 response and recovery plans.

“On this day, we call on all parties involved in armed conflicts to heed the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire and immediately end all acts of conflict-related sexual violence. We call on the international community to put the safety of women and girls first in the response to COVID-19. The goal of achieving safer, fairer, more secure and more peaceful societies will require the international community to demonstrate sustained vigilance and dedication”.

JCPOA continues work in Vienna

Brusssels 02.06.2021 The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) resumes today Wednesday 2 June, in Vienna (pictured).

The Joint Commission is chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, by the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora. It is attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran.

Participants continue their discussions in view of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and on how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA.

EU: Belarus Ambassador summoned

Brussels 24.05.2021 Upon request by High Representative Josep Borrell, the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Stefano Sannino, summoned the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to the European Union, Aleksandr Mikhnevich, to condemn the inadmissible step of the Belarusian authorities, who forced a civilian plane to perform an emergency landing in Minsk and detained its passenger Mr Raman Pratasevich, an independent Belarusian journalist and activist.

Ambassador Mikhnevich was informed of the firm condemnation by the EU institutions and EU Member States of the coercive act by which the Belarusian authorities have jeopardised the safety of passengers and crew.

Secretary-General Sannino conveyed the EU’s position that the outrageous action by Belarusian authorities constitute another blatant attempt to silence all opposition voices in the country and demanded the immediate release of Mr Pratasevich.

Yesterday’s unacceptable act will be raised at today’s meeting of the European Council. The EU will consider the consequences of these actions, including possible measures against those responsible.

EU: Belarus “inadmissible” act

Brussels 24.05.2021 European governments accused Belarus of engaging in an act of state terrorism after it forced a commercial jetliner Ryanair to make an emergency landing in Minsk after a purported bomb threat and then arrested an opposition blogger critical of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Raman Pratasevich, a former editor of the influential Telegram channels Nexta and Nexta Live, was detained by police after his Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was diverted over Belarusian airspace when the Minsk government said Lukashenko ordered his military to scramble a MiG-29 fighter to escort the plane.

“I’m facing the death penalty here,” a trembling Pratasevich was reported to tell a fellow passenger before Belarusian police led him away.

The Minsk government has accused Pratasevich of terrorism and provoking riots after the Nexta channels became one of the main conduits for organizing last year’s anti-Lukashenko protests over election fraud.

Lukashenko won his sixth term in the August election with a claimed 80% of the vote, although many in the country accused him of widespread corruption in the election.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the Irish passenger jet had been hijacked and accused Lukashenko of a “reprehensible act of state terrorism.” Morawiecki said he would demand new sanctions against Belarus at a European Council meeting on Monday.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “We are coordinating with our allies. This outlandish action by Lukashenko will have serious implications.”

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda wrote on Twitter, “Unprecedented event! The regime is behind the abhorrent action. I demand to free Roman Protasevich urgently!”

Pratasevich was flying from Athens to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, when the plane was diverted to Minsk.

The head of NATO has joined the leaders of several EU countries in demanding an investigation into the diversion on May 23 of a Lithuanian-bound flight to Minsk, where authorities arrested one of its passengers, opposition activist and journalist Raman Pratasevich.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance was closely monitoring the “forcible landing” of the flight from Athens to Vilnius in Belarus and the reported detention of Pratasevich.

“This is a serious and dangerous incident which requires international investigation. Belarus must ensure safe return of crew and all passengers,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter micro blog.

Ryanair said the flight arrived safely in Vilnius on May 23 after a delay in Minsk of several hours. The Irish airline said earlier that “nothing untoward” had been found after it was notified of a potential security threat on board by Belarus air traffic control and instructed to divert.

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