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”.
“We then discussed our support to the Afghanistan peace process. You might have seen the conclusions that have been adopted that highlight the concrete actions that the European Union is willing and ready to take in support of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, hopefully to be started already next week – as it was announced that intra-Afghan negotiations might start already next week” the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, while concluding the work of the meeting of Foreign ministers Council in Luxembourg.
“We have been supporting enormously the work of the Afghan legitimate authorities in their preparation for that. I am glad to see that yesterday, President of Afghanistan, Ashraf] Ghani announced the formation of the negotiating team and a senior council to lead them. I really hope that, also following our talks in Kabul a couple of weeks ago, this can open the way for negotiations that can lead to peace in Afghanistan without pre-judging neither the electoral process nor the achievements that the Afghan population has managed to reach, in particular on the rights of women, minorities and human rights in general terms.”
The Council recommends that direct negotiations between Afghans, with the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban at their core begin as soon as possible.
It confirms the EU’s readiness to support the peace process and its implementation, wit the aim of preserving and building on the political, economic and social achievements of the people of Afghanistan since 2001, which should be irreversible. The EU stands ready to support the following aspects of the process:
- to help make the peace process inclusive;
- to assist with reforms, including security sector reform;
- to act as a guarantor of a peace process, if requested by the parties;
- to assist with reintegration of fighters and their families and
- to promote regional trade and connectivity.
Russian senator, and chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Council of Federation (higher chamber of Russian parliament) Konstantin Kosachev said, there is no place for ‘euphoria’ reacting of President’s Trump remarks about Russia’s return to the G7 club. He pointed out that the opinion of the U.S. President is not shared by the other G7 members, and Canada, hosting the meeting, has made it clear ahead of the event.
“… The obvious thing: Russia is needed for G8 more than the G8 for Russia. In particular, as a negotiation platform. But also as an instrument of rallying the ranks of the Western countries themselves. The appearance on this intra-Western “get-together” previously excluded Russia would help for a while to forget about the contradictions within the current “Seven” (and they are all the more noticeable)…” – the senator continued.
The rhetoric question Kosachev rises is about Russian interest to return to the Club: “Do we need it?”, he asks. And then he answers: no.
” I am convinced that we do not need to rush in to every remark about “it would be nice to return Russia if it …”, etc., but to offer our own conditions for return: the lifting of sanctions and respect for interests.”
“Otherwise it will be a senseless waste of time for the next ambitions and vanity of the Westerners. Russia certainly does not have such a dream, as, for example, the Ukrainian leadership to “glow” often next to the richest and most influential. You need to speak on an equal footing and in essence, the rest – games in words” – the senator concludes.
The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini participated in a #EBS2018 debate on the changing role of the European Union at global stage, and challenges to bloc’s defence of a multilateral rules based international order. Mogerini took floor at the European Business Summit in Brussels #EBS2018 together with her Belgium counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders. “The EU awareness of its own role has changed… in the past couple of years”, – Mogherini said. The EU crucial influence on maintaining multilateralism, liberal democracies, and open societies are the challenges the bloc faces today, she continued.
Mogherini gave special attention to the European values as a binding element for the member-states, describing the organisation as a “family” of nations, which came to “rule together”. “The EU is not only about budget but it is a community of citizens”, the diplomat added.
“Pacta servanda sunt. It’s a test on EU, that we can take our own decisions, exercise sovereignty, protect our interests. And show strength. We have challenges, but we can preserve the deal if the Iranians stay in and respect it as they are doing” – Mogherini said, reflecting upon the situation with the nuclear deal #JCPOA.
Belgium Minister Didier Reynders confirmed that his country will continue contributing in finding multilateral solutions to the big challenges of our times alongside and in support of the European Union, namely in the issues of foreign policy, defence and migration. He also put forward his proposals on strengthening the rule of law mechanism in the EU – “internal credibility enhances EUs external credibility”, the diplomat said, underlining that the internal strength of the bloc inevitably translates into its foreign policy potential.
The reasons for firing U.S.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson remain publicly unknown, nourishing the wildest theories about the motives behind the twist in his career.
Shortly afterwards the decision of dismissal of one of the closest Tillerson’s aids followed.
The newly appointed Secretary of State to replace Tillerson – Mike Pompeo graduated from Harvard Law School, worked as a corporate lawyer in aerospace business. As a Tea Party Republican elected to Congress from Kansas in 2010. Leading CIA for more than one year.
Syrian President Bashar Assad believes that the inhabitant of White House plays the assigned to him role, and is not independent, the policy pursued by Donald Trump illustrates this observation. This statement Assad made during an interview with Indian journalists in Damascus, extracts from which were published by the Syrian authorities.
According to Assad, Trump does not make important decisions. “Trump swallowed most of his campaign promises and took a course 180 degrees opposite for what he promised,” the Syrian leader said.
Regarding the situation at home, Assad considers it has improved significantly compared to previous years. “Despite the fact that the West and its regional supporters continue to assist the gangs, the worst is behind us. (…) Gangs of terrorist groups are retreating, the territory they control is decreasing, ” he added.
The interview echoes the previous comments of Assad on Trump:
“That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American president’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades.”