Foreign Affairs Council, 3218th meeting: press conference by Catherine Ashton
The 3218th meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council was held on 31 January 2013 in Brussels. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and President of the Council, held a press conference following the Council meeting.The Council reiterated the EU's strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Mali. It welcomed the progress of the Mali armed forces, supported by France and States of the region, in the North of Mali against the terrorist groups. It stressed the importance of continuing international commitment in support of Mali, in particular the efforts deployed by the African States. It also welcomed the adoption of a roadmap, a vital step towards fully re-establishing constitutional order.The Council also welcomed the end of the transition in Somalia as a historic opportunity to leave behind two decades of conflict and undertook to sustain EU's collective efforts to support Somalia's transformation. The Council had an exchange of views with Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia.The Council took stock of the situation in Syria and Egypt as well as of the EU's response to the Arab Spring, in view of a debate at the European Council of 7-8 February 2013.The Council approved the crisis management concept for a possible civilian Common Security and Defence Policy mission to support border management in Libya.