Tag Archives: Borrell

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.

EU maintains operational presence

EU Defence Ministers discussed the security and defence implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing in particular on the crucial role played by armed forces in supporting civilian actors and providing cross-border support among member states. In this context the Task Force that was established at the last video conference of Defence Ministers on 6 April has worked closely with member states to ensure the exchange of information and best practices.

EU Ministers of defence on May 12 held a video conference, chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.

Ministers concurred that the EU should continue to do its utmost to maintain the operational presence on the ground of its Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations, while preserving the safety of the personnel deployed.

They also underlined the need to strengthen preparedness and resilience for the future by conducting exercises, strengthening work on cybersecurity and countering hybrid threats including enhancing efforts to counter disinformation.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and UN Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix provided an update on ongoing work in their organisations. They discussed with ministers defence cooperation in tackling the Covid-19 crisis.

Borrell: Afghan people deserve peace

“There are few words that can do justice to the horrors we have witnessed today in Afghanistan. At the same moment an attack was targeting a maternity ward in Kabul, a terrorist detonated his bomb in the middle of a funeral in Nangarhar. Dozens of innocent civilians were killed or injured in these most reprehensible acts of terror” reads the statement by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on two attacks targeting civilians in Kabul and Nangarhar.

“To target and kill mothers, newly born babies and nurses, as well as bereaved and mourning families, are acts of evil and show an appalling degree of inhumanity. The attack on the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital maternity ward, run by Médecins Sans Frontières, also seems to have targeted international aid workers. The European Union stands in solidarity with them. These acts constitute clear violations of International Humanitarian Law, for which the perpetrators will have to bear the consequences. Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones and we wish those who were injured a quick recovery.

“The Afghan people deserve peace. For too long has their country been ripped apart by terrorism and violence that no political objective can ever justify. A permanent ceasefire is absolutely vital, and the European Union calls on all stakeholders in Afghanistan and the region to make it a reality.”

G7: Borrell insists on aid to Iranians

EU top diplomt Josep Borrell participated in a G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that took place via video-teleconference call on Wednesday, 25 March.

“The discussion focussed on the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The High Representative Borrell (pictured) stressed that the pandemic represented a global challenge of unprecedented nature, with far-reaching consequences for the economic and geopolitical spheres, which required a global response. He underlined the importance of a strongly coordinated and multilateral approach, while stepping up international cooperation and providing humanitarian assistance to most affected countries, with a particular view to Africa. High Representative also stressed the need to ensure that citizens receive correct information related to the pandemic, that special measures are consistent with democratic values and that all countries share an interest in pushing back against disinformation and false narratives. 

“During the meeting, several other foreign policy and security issues were addressed, including those related to Iran, Syria, the regional situation in the Gulf and Middle East, Libya, Sahel, Afghanistan, security in the EU neighbourhood and in Asia. The importance of enhancing international cooperation in multilateral frameworks was also highlighted by Borrell.

“On Iran, the High Representative drew the attention of G7 partners to the difficult situation in the country because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the potential spill-over to neighbouring countries and the need to step up assistance to the Iranian people as a matter of priority. In this regard, he clarified that humanitarian aid and medical services are outside of the scope of sanctions. He underlined the importance of an effective response, including through unimpeded humanitarian assistance and stimulus measures in view of the dramatic impact of the outbreak on the livelihoods of ordinary Iranian people. The EU top diplomat supports Iran´s request for aid from the IMF and the need for avoiding any punitive measures in addressing the pandemic. He also addressed the state of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). He stressed the need to preserve the deal and for full implementation of the JCPoA by all sides. He also referred to the ongoing efforts by the EU to contribute to de-escalation and pursue stability in the wider region.

“The High Representative highlighted the necessity of renewed international efforts in order to address the Syrian crisis and pave the way for a political solution. He reaffirmed the EU’s focus on addressing the humanitarian situation and informed G7 partners that the EU will again organise a Brussels Conference for the Future of Syria and the region.

“The High Representative agreed to stay in close contact with all G7 counterparts in the coming weeks and months, in order to ensure close international coordination and cooperation on all of the pressing issues.”

COVID19: N.Macedonia activates EU mechanism

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell welcomed the decision by the government of North Macedonia to activate the EU civil protection mechanism during telephone conversation with Nikola Dimitrov, Foreign Minister of North Macedonia. The diplomat have discussed the current intensive efforts to coordinate work and seek all ways to channel support to the Western Balkans in a focused and concrete manner.

The high diplomat concluded that the European Union stands by the Western Balkans and will continue to support the region in these challenging times.

They both expressed great satisfaction over the EU Ministers’ decision to open accession negotiations for both North Macedonia and Albania.

Image: illustration video conference Josep Borrell

Eastern Partnership objectives

“Today, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have put forward a proposal for the long-term policy objectives of the Eastern Partnership beyond 2020. These aim at increasing trade, strengthening connectivity and deepening economic integration with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, environmental and climate resilience, supporting the digital transformation, and promoting fair and inclusive societies. (Image: archive).

“Our neighbours’ strength is also the European Union’s strength; the Eastern Partnership remains a crucial element of the EU’s foreign policy. Our proposals will further strengthen our six partner countries, reflecting the priorities and challenges that we share, while maintaining the emphasis on delivering tangible, positive results for all citizens” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said.

“We are sending a very clear message to our Eastern partner countries: we will help you to build strong economies and to create growth and jobs by attracting foreign direct investment and by strengthening connectivity in key sectors, such as transport, energy and environment. We will work closely together to address today’s challenges across the board, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi said.

“Building on the achievements of the Partnership in the first 10 years, today’s proposal outlines how the EU will work together with the partner countries to tackle common challenges and strengthen their resilience in the light of today’s challenges as an overriding policy objective beyond 2020. In doing so, work between the EU and partners will continue on new policy priorities to support the ecological transformation, the digital transformation and to deliver on economies that work for all, in particular more job opportunities for youth and to promote gender equality.”

https://twitter.com/eu_commission/status/1240260323606757376?s=21

Crimea anniversary EU declaration

Today the Declaration was issued by the High Representative Josep Borrell-Fontelles, on behalf of the European Union, on the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (pictured) and the city of Sevastopol.
Six years on from the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union remains steadfast in its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The European Union reiterates that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law. It remains a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of all States.

“The European Union remains committed to fully implementing its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures. The European Union calls again on UN Member States to consider similar non-recognition measures in line with the UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262. The European Union does not and will not recognise the holding of elections by the Russian Federation in the Crimean peninsula.

“The increasing militarisation of the peninsula continues to negatively impact the security situation in the Black Sea region. In violation of international humanitarian law, Russian citizenship and conscription in the armed forces of the Russian Federation have been imposed on Crimean residents. The unjustified use of force by Russia against Ukraine on 25 November 2018 is a reminder of the negative effects of the illegal annexation on regional stability. The return of the illegally-captured Ukrainian servicemen and vessels, as requested by the Order of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea and called by the EU, was long overdue when it eventually took place in the second half of 2019.

“The European Union condemns the construction of the Kerch Bridge without Ukraine’s consent and the recent opening of a railway section. These are yet further steps towards a forced integration of the illegally-annexed peninsula with Russia, and a further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The EU expects Russia to ensure unhindered and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait to and from the Azov Sea, in accordance with international law. The illegal restrictions to such passage are still ongoing and have negative economic consequences for Ukraine’s ports in the Azov Sea and the whole region.

“Since the illegal annexation by the Russian Federation, the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula has significantly deteriorated. Residents of the peninsula face systematic restrictions of fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, religion or belief and association and the right to peaceful assembly. In accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 74/168 of 18 December 2019, it is crucial that the regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms as well as the non-governmental human rights organisations have unimpeded access to Crimea and Sevastopol.

“The rights of the Crimean Tatars have been gravely violated through the shutting down of Crimean Tatar media outlets, and the banning of the activities of the Mejlis, their self-governing body, and the persecution of its leaders and members of their community. The EU expects Russia to reverse these decisions and to end the pressure on the Crimean Tatar community. Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and all ethnic and religious communities in the peninsula must be ensured the possibility to maintain and develop their culture, education, identity and cultural heritage traditions, which are currently threatened by the illegal annexation.

“Furthermore, Russian Federation should stop changing the demographic structure of the population by transferring its own civilian population to the peninsula. Russia must also take measures to improve the environmental situation, which has considerably worsened since the illegal annexation.

“The EU reiterates its call for the immediate release of Emir-Usein Kuku and his five co-defendants, Oleh Prykhodko and all others who have been detained in the Crimean peninsula and sentenced in breach of international law. The EU calls for full compliance with international human rights standards in the peninsula. Journalists, human rights defenders and defence lawyers should be able to work independently and without undue interference and intimidation. All pending cases of human rights violations and abuses, such as enforced disappearances, torture and killings, violence, politically motivated prosecutions, discrimination and harassment should be thoroughly investigated. Full, free and unrestricted access for international human rights actors to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol, continues to be paramount. The EU recalls UNGA Resolution 74/168 of 19 December 2019, and calls for its full implementation, including the Russian Federation’s obligations under applicable international humanitarian law.”

Illustration: Crimea, Livadia Palace

EU rejects Turkey migratory pressure

The Foreign Affairs Council adopted a statement on the crisis in Idlib and the situation at the EU external borders with Turkey. (Image: illustration).

In its statement, the Council acknowledges the increased migratory burden and risks Turkey is facing on its territory and the substantial efforts it has made in hosting 3,7 million migrants and refugees. The Council also strongly rejects Turkey’s use of migratory pressure for political purposes and restates that the EU and its member states remain determined to effectively protect EU’s external borders, in accordance with EU and international law.

In this context the Council reiterates the EU’s full solidarity with Greece, which faces an unprecedented situation, as well as with Bulgaria, Cyprus and other member states in their efforts to manage the EU’s external borders.

On Idlib, the Council notes that the recent and continuing offensive by the Syrian regime and its backers, including Russia, is creating untold human suffering and has provoked the worst humanitarian crisis since the beginning of the Syrian conflict.

The Council therefore calls for an urgent de-escalation of the conflict in Syria in order to avert a slide into international military confrontation, and prevent further suffering.

The Council notes the outcome of the Russia-Turkey meeting yesterday in Moscow and reiterates, in the strongest possible terms, its call on all parties to keep in place an immediate and a sustainable ceasefire, to guarantee the protection of civilians on the ground and from the air and to enable the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance by the international community.

EU Defence Ministers discuss future

At arrival to the Informal meeting of the EU Defence Ministers on March 4 in Zagreb Josep Borrell, the EU top diplomat, commented on situation in Syria, and crisis at Greek-Turkish border.

Borrell underlined that the meeting is “not about the current crisis“, but about “future prospects on how to build a better security and defence policy for all Europeans“. The Ministers hosted the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg to put forward priorities in EU military and defence missions.

Our prospect tonight is about how to build a common security and defence policy for the future.”

The EU top diplomat described the situation in Syria is one of the “most dramatic” in terms of human rights since the World War II.

“We are providing as much humanitarian help as we can, the European Union has increased by €170 million the amount of resources we can provide to the United Nations. But at this time the problem is not financial but logistic, that is – how to reach the people, how to get through the border, because the Syrian side is closed, the Turkish side is still opened in some places in order to bring food, medicine and shelter. But, it is difficult to provide those things in the middle of a military conflict” Borrell said.

https://twitter.com/eu_eeas/status/1235281289860837387?s=21

“We have to call once again for a stop of the military activities in order to give some protection to these people. As far as I know, from the information I got from Ankara – I am coming from Ankara – this is one of worse cases of human distress that we have been living in the last 70 years” he added.

Borrell referred to the diplomatic efforts, reflected in his recent talks with Turkish officials during the trip to Ankara.

“They believe that the support we are providing is not enough. For sure it is not enough, because when we made the agreement in 2016, the situation in Idlib was not the way it is now. But we continue providing support as much as we can and I have been telling them that to push people, to put pressure at the [EU-Turkey] border is not a solution for anyone. It is going to put people at risk and we would like to continue cooperating but not through movement of people, by making them believe that there is an opportunity to pass to Europe, because this opportunity does not exist” Borrell concluded.

JCPOA: diplomats reiterate strong support to non-proliferation

“A meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took place in Vienna on 26 February 2020. Under the terms of the JCPOA, the Joint Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the agreement” reads the statement of Josep BorrellFontelles, who chaired the meeting of the Joint Commission.

“The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell Fontelles, by EEAS Secretary General Helga-Maria Schmid and was attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran at the level of Ambassadors/ Political Directors/Deputy Foreign Ministers. 

“The meeting addressed both Iran’s steps in reducing its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA including its announcement of 5 January 2020, as well as longstanding concerns, recognised by all participants, regarding the impact of the US withdrawal from the agreement in 2018 and the re-imposition of sanctions by it.

“In this context, serious concerns were expressed regarding the implementation of Iran’s nuclear commitments under the agreement. Participants also acknowledged that the re-imposition of US sanctions did not allow Iran to reap the full benefits arising from sanctions-lifting. 

“All participants reaffirmed the importance of preserving the agreement recalling that it is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture.

“As a follow up to the statement of the High Representative of 24 January 2020 participants reviewed expert-level discussions which have taken place in different formats in past weeks, both as regards nuclear implementation issues and the wider impacts of the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA and its re-imposition of sanctions and benefits arising from sanctions-lifting. Experts were tasked to take these discussions forward”.

“Participants welcomed positive developments in the processing of first transactions by INSTEX and the addition of four European countries as new shareholders, with more to follow, while acknowledging the importance of further strengthening the instrument.

“Participants reiterated their strong support and collective responsibility for the continuation of key nuclear non-proliferation projects that are an essential part of the JCPOA.

“They welcomed continued efforts by the Arak Working Group Co-Chairs, China and the United Kingdom, in taking the Arak Modernisation Project forward. They took note of recent developments concerning the Fordow facility and expressed strong support for the work of Russia in continuing the implementation of the stable isotope project.

“The meeting took place against the background of the COVID-19 outbreak. Participants expressed their solidarity with China, Iran and all countries affected, in their efforts to address the outbreak and, in particular, the contribution of China and those later affected to the global fight against this public health challenge.”

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