Press Releases US: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell after meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken

US: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell after meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Good morning,

I am very happy to welcome you, Secretary [of State of the United States, Antony] Blinken, in Brussels. We just had a very good bilateral meeting, marking our great transatlantic cooperation.

Now, we will co-chair the EU-US Energy Council [Ministerial Meeting] and later we will see each other also at the NATO Ministerial [Meeting].

Allow me [to say] some words about our bilateral discussions.

Certainly, we started discussing and talking about Russia’s war in Ukraine, the situation in Ethiopia, the Central African Republic and the Middle East Peace Process.

It is more than one year ago that Putin started destroying Ukraine, and he seems determined to continue with his brutal bloodshed and destruction. And he still escalates further – despite not achieving anything.

His newest nuclear gamble, with nuclear weapons moved to Belarus, constitutes a new escalation, and poses a direct threat to European security.

This comes – ironically – after Chinese President Xi [Jinping] visited Moscow and mentioned the need for peace, and they agreed on the need to not deploy nuclear arms abroad. And some days later, Russia [announced] deployment of nuclear tactical weapons in Belarus.

We have been discussing with Secretary Blinken about the role of China in supporting Russia’s blatant violation of the United Nations Charter.

There is a clear expectation from a Permanent member of the [UN] Security Council to stand up in defence of [the] international rules-based order, and China has a moral duty to contribute to a fair peace.

They cannot be siding with the aggressor. They cannot be militarily supporting the aggression.

This is our message to China – from today’s meeting and from all the European Union’s visits going to Beijing.

Today, President [of the European Commission, Ursula] von der Leyen will be in Beijing with French President [Emmanuel] Macron. Spanish Prime Minister [Pedro] Sánchez was there last week, and I will travel [to China] next week too. So, as you see, a lot of Europeans [are] going to China.

But we have been clear with China: that its position on Russia’s atrocities and war crimes will determine the quality of our relations with Beijing.

In the meantime, the European Union stands united, and our transatlantic community remains also united.

We are committed to continue supporting Ukraine in its self-defence, and we will maintain the collective pressure on Russia to stop the widespread violations of international law.

We are doing everything we can, militarily, politically, and providing financial support, to ensure that Ukraine prevails.

We also talked about the Middle East, and we shared our concerns about the vicious cycle of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The latest developments painfully demonstrate that a path towards a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is urgently needed. I appreciated the recent US mediation efforts in Aqaba and Sharm al Sheikh.

And I also shared with you, Secretary Blinken, my efforts together with partners in the Arab world to revive peace efforts – by building on the Arab Peace Initiative and adding a European peace contribution to it.

We also discussed about some topics in Africa.

First of all, on Ethiopia. This was a major crisis and now – fortunately – things start to move towards solving it. That is one of the rare good news that we have in the world. And to sustain the current progress, it is important that the European Union and the United States continue working hand in hand.

The message to both the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigrayans is to make them understand that we are watching the settling of the conflict and will only normalise our relations in a gradual way, step by step.

On the Central African Republic, we exchanged views on the ongoing international efforts, including our own efforts, to help to stabilise the country, so that they do not have to rely on the Wagner mercenaries.

You know that the Wagner mercenaries, this destructive group, has had a negative impact in each country where they are present – be it in the Central African Republic or others in the Sahelian area – contributing only to further destabilisation and impacting negatively the entire region.

Finally, we are going to co-chair now the 10th EU-US Energy Council [Ministerial Meeting] now.

But this year is different from our previous meeting, in Washington. The past year has been marked by the atrocious war against Ukraine and the unprecedented EU-US coordination to support the country and to support our energy security in Europe.

We – the European Union and its Member States – are the lead donors when it comes to energy assistance to Ukraine. We have been able to get rid of our “Russian” dependency on gas and we will discuss today how to accelerate the green energy transition, reducing methane emissions and launching a new global energy efficiency initiative. That is also good news.

Thank you, Secretary of State.

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