Press Releases 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

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

Brussels, 11/11/2019 – 16:35, UNIQUE ID: 191111_19

Let me start with a good story for once, because we have just concluded our working lunch with the Foreign Ministers, hosting the Prime Minister of Sudan [Abdalla Hamdok] – an encouraging transition that the European Union is strongly supporting, both politically but also financially. We just announced an additional financial support for humanitarian aid and we exchanged views with the Prime Minister on the most pressing needs on which the European Union is going to accompany the civilian and democratic transition of the country.

I am starting with this, because we always tackle crises that seem impossible to be solved. In this case we have a good story that could represent not only success in itself, but also an inspiration for the rest of the region, for Africa, for the Arab world, and for our world in general. So let me thank the Prime Minister for having joined us today and also share with you the sense of hope and encouragement that we got from this important exchange that we had.

Previously during the morning we addressed with the ministers the situation in Afghanistan after the holding of the presidential elections. We are still waiting for the preliminary results to be announced, but we are stressing our determination to accompany an Afghan-owned and an Afghan-led process for negotiation that we hope can start soon between the government and the Taliban and also our hope that the resumption of US-Taliban talks can happen soon as one step to prepare the launch of a genuine intra-Afghan peace process with direct negotiations between the government and Taliban.

We would be more than ready to support this process from the very beginning, as well as an agreement in case and when it is reached. Obviously, for us – as we have repeated several times – the only condition would be that such a process would not be at the detriment but, on the contrary, to strengthen and increase the achievements that the country has reached already, in particular when it comes to human rights and rights of women. We know that this is the key aspiration of the Afghan people.

We then discussed with the ministers regional security in the area of the Gulf. This is an issue that is extremely relevant for European security, but also for security of the world as such. We have seen some restraint and ideas floating around about the possibility to have some regional initiatives to de-escalate tensions. We discussed this with the ministers. The European Union is ready to support an initiative that sees the region and the regional actors as the key drivers. So, we would stay in a support mode.

The European Union and European Member States have a significant experience on how to live together in a peaceful manner and in a cooperative manner, even when tensions arise. We would like to see these developments happening also in the Gulf. We would be ready to support any initiative that would go in this direction. We believe that there is enough awareness today in the region to understand that an escalation would be detrimental to everybody’s interests and also to European security. We had an open discussion about how we can contribute to this in the coming months.

We also commented the latest announcements from the Iranian side on the decision to resume uranium enrichment in Fordo that is of major concern for us. As you know we rely always on the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] for verification. The IAEA inspectors were on site in the recent days. We expect the IAEA report later today, so you will see our reaction to that later on.

As the coordinator of the Joint Commission [of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA] I am reaching out to all JCPOA participants to discuss the follow-up and the next steps, based on the IAEA report. But let me stress that there was around our table again today full commitment to the agreement that remains crucial for our security, even if it is increasingly difficult to preserve it. We will continue our efforts to have a full implementation of the agreement.

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