Today, as always, [we have] a busy agenda.
We will start with Ukraine, certainly, where [there are] bad news from the Russian attacks. This morning, Kyiv was also under heavy attack by drones in the centre of the city.
We will discuss the situation in Ukraine and [we will be] taking some measures [and] adopting some decisions.
The second thing is our position with respect to China. A new discussion with China with a new analysis is very timely because we are just in the middle of the [20th ] Chinese Communist Party Congress.
And there are other issues.
We are going to deploy – I hope the Ministers [of Foreign Affairs] will approve the deployment of a mission in the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Iran – there is a package of sanctions on the table in order to support the brave women and the demonstrators in Iran. I hope the ministers will approve, also, this package and look at other issues which are on the table on the relationship with Iran.
Then, Burkina Faso will also be discussed, [as well as] Lebanon.
The most important decision will be related to the new tranche of military support to Ukraine and to the deployment of a training mission. It is the last point of our discussions. I hope that, at the end, everybody will agree with that.
The socio-economic consequences of the war continue. This war continues sending shockwaves around the world. Russia is more and more isolated, as we could see on the vote last week in the United Nations [General Assembly]. Morally, politically, even militarily: Russia is losing this war, so we have to continue supporting Ukraine.
That is what the Ministers will discuss today. I hope there is going to be a 6th new tranche of [the] European Peace Facility – military support – and this training mission, this powerful training mission deployed outside the borders of Ukraine but providing our strong support to the Ukrainian military.
For example, today the last news coming from UNICEF, you know, the consequences of the war for the children in Ukraine and Central Asia, you have 19% more children in poverty – four millions of young children. This is going to be a problem for the future. Children without schools, children in poverty – we have to continue supporting Ukraine. And we will.
Q. It seems now evident that Iran is delivering missiles to Russia. Is that maybe a reason to add more sanctions? What does it mean for the JCPOA?
This is something that will be discussed and we will look for at concrete evidence about the participation that Iran is strongly – in the strongest possible terms – denying. Well, let’s see what is the information. [Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro] Kuleba will participate in the meeting. But the sanctions today are related to the repression against the demonstrators, as consequences of the death of Ms. [Mahsa] Amini. This package of sanctions has been discussed and prepared, and I am sure will be adopted.
On the issue of drones, the discussion will continue.
Q. Why is it so important to make this training mission a European mission? What is the added-value of this?
It is clear. If the European Union armies pull together and bring together all their capacities, they can do much more than each one on their side. Certainly, we are not going to substitute the French training for the use of their guns, the Germans – everybody is doing that, not everybody, almost everybody on their side, associated with the type of arms they are providing.
But now, it is a high-level training education – not only for the soldiers, but also for the Commanders. This mission was already being discussed before the war, and now it is the moment to do it, and to do it quickly. I am strongly convinced that putting together the capacities of the European armies, we can offer a much better product.
Q. Your Baltic colleagues are asking for a special tribunal for Russian war criminals. What is your opinion on this issue?
I am very much in favour of taking all measures of accountability for the crimes [committed], but let’s see if it is the best way.
Q. [inaudible] China as a partner?
This is a nice paper about China. It is a paper that takes the relationship with China in all its complexity. And it is as much complex as it was when we said that it is a partner, competitor and a rival. I think that we have to continue dealing with these three dimensions of our relationship with China.
Q. You had quite a week last week. In a few statements you shouted at your Ambassadors, you talked about gardens and jungles, and also said that Russia would face annihilation. Can we expect more of this style from you? Are you okay?
I am very okay, why not? Why should [I] not [be]? Every week is very intense. From time to time, something erupts in the public opinion but I can assure you that everyday is as intense as the previous one. Thank you.
Q. There is no nuclear deal under the JCPOA with Iran. What does it mean for the region? What do you expect to happen?
[The] JCPOA for me has always been a way of improving the security in the region and beyond, also for us.
The JCPOA would be a source of security. As you know, the negotiation has been stalled in the last weeks. I don’t expect any move; it is a pity because we were very close. We have to wait. But you know, the whole world would be much more secure. The region certainly, the Europeans also. But today, it would be so good to have good news on this side. I do not expect that.
Q. On the mission, is it good that it will be in Poland these 12,000 soldiers?
Well, it is a European mission that certainly will not be deployed in Ukraine itself. It will be deployed in the countries near Ukraine – Poland, certainly is one of them. So, it is important for us that Poland will be hosting this mission. Other countries will also be hosting this mission, not only Poland, but the contribution of Poland will be very important.
Q. And the European Peace Facility: apparently there is not enough money? Only 45% were reimbursed.
There is enough money. Do not worry about the money.