Foreign Affairs Council – 13 May 2019

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written statement – made on 6th June 2019.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini, chaired the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) and an Eastern Partnership Ministerial on 13 May. My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Eastern Partnership Ministerial. The meetings were held in Brussels.

Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting and Lunch

Foreign ministers highlighted the importance of the Eastern Partnership on its 10th anniversary and took stock of the commitments made at the last summit in November 2017. They discussed the implementation of the twenty deliverables for 2020 programme, which was adopted at that summit. They also reflected on future cooperation and discussed political priorities for the coming period.

Foreign Affairs Council - Current Affairs

The High Representative and Foreign Ministers had an exchange of views on a number of pressing issues. On Iran, they recalled their full commitment to the preservation and full implementation of the JCPOA and expressed concern at recent declarations by Iran. Ministers also expressed regret at the re-imposition of sanctions by the US and underlined their commitment to achieving full operationalisation of the special purpose vehicle, INSTEX.

Ministers touched on the situation in Venezuela. The High Representative debriefed Ministers on the most recent International Contact Group (ICG) meeting on 5-6 May. Ministers reiterated their support for the ICG and its work.

Foreign Ministers noted the positive signals from the incoming Ukrainian administration, in particular its intention to continue and strengthen the reform implementation process. Ministers expressed concern at the Russian decree simplifying the issuing of passports in certain areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The High Representative also referred to the situation in Sudan and to the US decision to discontinue the waiver on Title 3 of the Helms-Burton Act.

Libya

UNSG Special Representative for Libya Ghassan Salamé joined Ministers for an exchange of views on possible next steps to avoid further escalation in the conflict.

Sahel

Foreign Ministers discussed the political framework and prepared for the exchange of views between EU Foreign and Defence Ministers on 14 May and with the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger).

Council Conclusions

The Council agreed a number of measures without discussion:

  • The Council adopted conclusions on the Sahel.

  • The Council adopted a statement on Libya.

  • The Council adopted the EU annual report on human rights and democracy in the world for 2018.

  • The Council adopted conclusions on EU relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, following the joint communication by the High Representative and the Commission on the "EU, Latin America and the Caribbean: Partnering for prosperity, democracy, resilience and global governance" of 17 April 2019.

  • The Council transposed into EU law an update issued by the UN on 19 April 2019 related to a person designated under the Central African Republic sanctions regime.

  • The Council adopted the EU's common position with a view to the EU-Tunisia Association Council, which took place on Friday 17 May.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1567