Press Releases EEAS : Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council

EEAS : Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council

Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council

Bruxelles, 21/01/2019 – 14:12, UNIQUE ID: 190121_15

As I said earlier this morning, we had a shorter [Foreign Affairs] Council today because we are hosting our colleagues, the Foreign Ministers of the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], in a while, and then as of tonight, our Foreign Minister colleagues from the African Union countries. This has only been the first leg – let us say – of a very long day we spend together with the Foreign Ministers.

We had three main issues on the table with the EU Member States this morning.

First of all, our work on disinformation, to counter disinformation coming from outside the European Union. This is a work we are doing together with the different institutions – we have put together an Action Plan [on disinformation] that we presented already at the end of last year – and that is now subject to a common work for the implementation that requires a stronger determination and inputs also from our Member States.

We discussed with the Foreign Ministers their side of the work and ways in which we can do better in this respect. Obviously, in particular in view of the European Parliament elections, but there was a very strong focus on the need to look at all different kind of disinformation that come from within, from outside the European Union, and in different forms. We decided to move forward together, at full speed, with a lot of determination, and implement the Action Plan we have put forward.

Then we discussed with the Foreign Ministers the preparations for the ministerial [meeting] we will have with the League of Arab States on 4 February here in Brussels. It is going to be the 5th ministerial we will have with the League of Arab States, but it is going to prepare the first ever Summit between the European Union and the League of Arab States that will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, at the end of February.

We have gone through different issues with the Ministers. Currently, we are working very closely together with the League of Arab States on the preparation of the political discussions we are having at the level of Foreign Ministers both on thematic issues – be it counter-terrorism, economic cooperation, migration and so – and on some of the regional issues that are high on both of our agendas, I think of the Middle East Peace Process, of Libya, Yemen, Syria obviously, and other situations that require cooperation between Europe and the Arab world.

We also had a very short point to prepare the ministerial [meeting] with the ASEAN with Council Conclusions adopted – you might have seen them already – where we particularly welcome the decision that will be taken this afternoon of upgrading our relations with the ASEAN to the level of Strategic Partnership. This is something on which I will debrief you more at length this afternoon, at the end of our Ministerial Meeting with our friends from the ASEAN.

I will be glad to join you again in the press room this afternoon with the co-chair from the ASEAN side, the Foreign Minister of Singapore [Vivian Balakrishnan].

We also addressed a few other issues under the current affairs. We do that every time we gather as Foreign Ministers.
You know that January is a special month because we have a meeting today and we will have an informal meeting of Foreign Ministers one week and some days from now [31 January-1 February] in Bucharest. There, we will discuss more at length about Syria, also in preparation of our Third Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region for Syria and the Syrian people in the region, that will be held in March here in Brussels.

But some issues we discussed today are current affairs on which we are continuing to work and I would like to especially mention one of them we addressed this morning – the car bomb attack that happened in Bogotá last Thursday.

I had a telephone conversation with President [of Colombia, Iván] Duque a few days ago. I have seen that today the ELN [Ejército de Liberación Nacional, National Liberation Army] has taken responsibility for this attack. Let me say very clearly that the European Union and all its Member States condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms, and we call on the ELN to release all kidnapped people and to stop and end all kidnappings.

We stand very strongly at the side of our Colombian friends and we also had reassurances from President [Iván]Duque that this is not going to have an impact or affect the implementation of the peace agreement with the FARC [Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia] that as you know we are accompanying and supporting even in these phases.

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