EU Discuss arms export policies to Turkey & Cyprus


The Foreign Affairs Council, chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, follow up on the October Council discussions regarding Turkish unilateral military action in north-east Syria and the issue of illegal drillings in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Foreign Affairs Council 11 November 2019

The Foreign Affairs Council, chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, will start at 9.00 with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review the pressing issues on the international agenda.

Foreign ministers will then have an exchange of views on Afghanistan, in particular following the Presidential election of 28 September 2019.

They are also expected to take stock of recent developments and efforts to support and promote an inclusive and transparent peace process.

The Council will discuss the regional security situation in the Gulf and Iran and will reflect on the ways the EU can contribute to its stabilisation.

EU foreign ministers will also have a discussion on Sudan in preparation for the exchange of views with the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok that will follow over a working lunch.

Agenda

Current affairs

The Foreign Affairs Council will start with a discussion on current affairs.

Foreign ministers will also follow up on the October Council discussions regarding Turkish unilateral military action in north-east Syria.

Foreign ministers may also touch on the strict implementation of arms export policies to Turkey in line with the commitments made at the last Council meeting.

They will also follow up on the issue of illegal drillings in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The High Representative and foreign ministers are expected to refer to Venezuela, after the international solidarity conference on the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis that took place in Brussels on the 28 and 29 of October and touch on the EU and International Contact Group’s next steps.

The High Representative may also refer to China, following her visit on 24 October 2019 and may also touch upon the situation in Hong Kong in this context.

The latest developments in Lebanon are also expected to be raised.

☛ Council conclusions on North East Syria, [14 October 2019]

☛ Council conclusions on Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, [14 October 2019]

☛ Statement by High Representative Federica Mogherini on the inaugural meeting of Syria Constitutional Committee, [30 October 2019]

☛ International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant crisis Brussels 28-29 October 2019 – Joint communique by the co-chairs [27/09/2019]

☛ Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on Venezuela, [Speech]

☛ Venezuela: the Council’s response to the crisis [text]

☛ High Representative Federica Mogherini visits Beijing to discuss bilateral relations and foreign policy cooperation, [24 October 2019]

☛ Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on Hong Kong, [2 October 2019]

☛ Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the latest developments in Lebanon, [25 October 2019]

☛ Security and Defence issues [en]

☛ Questions relatives à la sécurité et à la défense [fr]

Afghanistan

Foreign ministers will have an exchange of views on the current political situation in Afghanistan. They are expected to focus on the aftermath of the presidential election of 28 September 2019, for which preliminary results are still expected.

Ministers will also discuss how the EU can further support an inclusive and transparent peace process and promote a reduction of violence and civil casualties, and the next steps for EU engagement.

In a statement on 30 September 2019, the High Representative recognised the commitment of the Afghan people to furthering the democratic path of their country, but stated that the legitimacy of the final result of the Presidential election will be linked to the ability of the Afghan electoral management bodies to fulfil their mandate impartially, efficiently and transparently and in full respect of the constitution, electoral laws and procedures. The EU is committed to support the Afghan constitutional order and the electoral process as a way to ensure institutional continuity and the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s political institutions.

Following the suspension of US-Taliban peace talks and the intra Afghan-Dialogue, the High Representative reaffirmed in a phone call to President Ghani on 22 September 2019 the EU’s view that direct peace talks between the Government and the Taliban remain the only way forward towards lasting peace. The Council last adopted conclusions on Afghanistan on 8 April 2019, when it reiterated its longterm commitment to support the people of Afghanistan on their path towards peace, security and prosperity. It also encouraged the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to intensify their efforts towards a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the conflict, and recommended that direct negotiations between Afghans, with the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban at their core, begin as soon as possible.

The political support and long-term commitment of the EU to Afghanistan has also been confirmed by the High Representative in 2017 with the appointment of the EU Special Envoy Roland Kobia dedicated to advance the EU’s contribution to delivering lasting peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and in the region. From a financial perspective, since 2002, the European Union has provided €3.66 billion in development and humanitarian aid, making it the fourth largest donor in support of the Afghan people. Afghanistan is also the largest beneficiary of EU development assistance.

Together with its member states, the European Union contributes more than €1 billion in development assistance per year to Afghanistan. At the October 2016 Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, the European Union and its member states pledged €5 billion in support for Afghanistan in the period 2016-2020. In November 2018, the European Commission allocated €474 million to support state building and public sector reform, health, justice, and elections, as well as address migration and displacement challenges in Afghanistan.

☛ Special Envoys and representatives meet on the Afghan Peace Process, [23 October 2019]

☛ Statement by the High Representative on the Presidential election in Afghanistan, [30 September 2019]

☛ EU-Afghanistan relations, [factsheet]

Regional security in the Gulf and Iran

Foreign ministers will have a discussion on regional security in the Gulf and Iran. They are expected to discuss the situation in the broader region and the EU’s possible role in contributing to de-escalation in the region. Ministers may also focus on Iran, taking into account its most recent announcements on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA, the Iran nuclear deal).

Foreign ministers last discussed the situation in the Gulf at the Gymnich on 30 August 2019, agreeing that the main message from the EU was to insist on the need to avoid further escalation and to open channels of dialogue and cooperation across the region, having a clear and unequivocal respect for the international rules-based order and the freedom of navigation, including in the Strait of Hormuz.

Foreign ministers may discuss how the EU can further contribute to a more general approach to de-escalate tensions in the region.

The Council also discussed the situation in the Gulf during the meeting on 15 July 2019, when foreign ministers focused on the tense situation in the region and ways of reducing the risk of miscalculation that could result in military escalation.

They addressed the state of play on the implementation of the JCPoA following the US withdrawal and the announcements and steps by Tehran to reduce its implementation of certain aspects of the Iran nuclear deal. They urged Iran to reverse the steps taken and reaffirmed that the EU’s commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran and that compliance issues must be addressed within the framework of the JCPoA. They also took stock of ongoing EU efforts to enable the continuation of legitimate trade with Iran, including through the special purpose vehicle “INSTEX” which is now operational.

The EU High Representative Federica Mogherini chaired a ministerial meeting of the E3/EU+2 (France, Germany, the UK, and China and Russia) and Iran on 25 September 2019 in New York. Participants discussed the implementation of the JCPoA and recalled that the JCPoA remains a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and a significant achievement of multilateral diplomacy. They underlined the importance of the full and effective implementation of the JCPoA by all sides and confirmed their determination to continue all efforts to preserve the agreement, which is in the interests of all.

☛ EU relations with Iran [background]

☛ Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [text]

Sudan

Foreign ministers will have an exchange of views ahead of the discussion with the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok, which will follow over a working lunch.

The discussion will be an opportunity to discuss ways in which the EU could play an active role in supporting and consolidating the political transition in Sudan.

The transitional government presented its 200 days recovery plan to the international community in a meeting of the “Friends of Sudan” in Washington on 21 October 2019 and requested donor support for its implementation.

Foreign ministers are expected to express the EU’s willingness to assist the country in putting in place necessary political and economic reforms to achieve the goals outlined and to reaffirm its political commitment to the civilian transition.

They will also reaffirm the EU’s commitment to provide economic and technical support as well as humanitarian assistance to meet both Sudan’s urgent as well as long-term needs in continued coordination with other international actors.

The possibility of establishing a regular EU-Sudan political dialogue may also be discussed. On 17 August 2019, the EU attended the signing ceremony of the transitional agreement in Khartoum as an expression of strong political support for the civilian transition. The conclusion of this agreement is the result of long negotiations between all sides, with the strong engagement of the African Union and Ethiopian mediation, and represents an important milestone for Sudan on its path towards peace, democracy and prosperity.

The Council last adopted conclusions on Sudan on 19 November 2018, prior to the beginning of the ongoing civilian protest movement and the subsequent change in leadership. In these conclusions, the Council recalled Sudan’s crucial role for peace and stability in the wider Horn of Africa region, and confirmed its readiness to engage with Khartoum depending on progress shown in internal reforms, human rights, good governance, facilitation of humanitarian assistance, sustainable peace and a constructive role in the region.

☛ Statement by the Spokesperson on the conclusion of the transitional agreement in Sudan, [18 August 2019]

☛ Council conclusions on Sudan, [19 November 2018]

☛ EU delegation to Sudan (EEAS) [link]

☛ Conseil des affaires étrangères [Version française]

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