General Affairs and External Relations Council: arrivals (3)
End production: 18/02/2008 First transmission: 18/02/2008
The 18 February meeting of the EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs was dominated by the latest events in Kosovo. However divided on the issue, the 27 Member States tried to agree on a common position to the declaration of Kosovo as a sovereign State. Not all EU countries are willing to recognise a new State but Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy were expected to officially confirm Kosovo's sovereignty following the meeting. Meanwhile, and despite Belgrade's opposition, the EU decided to send a civil mission composed of some 2,200 policemen, prosecutors and judges entrusted with the task of strengthening stability in Kosovo and ensuring that democratic standards are observed there. The EU will take 120 days - four months - to gradually deploy the mission. After this transition period, the transfer of authority from the UN mission currently in Kosovo to the EU would become effective. Other topics for discussion were the preparation of the European Council of March, the Middle East, Sudan/Chad, Kenya, Myanmar and the WTO/Doha Development Agenda.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Frank-Walter Steinmeier (in GERMAN) saying that the developments in Kosovo did not take them by surprise; the decision to declare the independence of Kosovo constitutes an end-point in the history of the break-up of the Former Yugoslavia; that history was accompanied by suffering and bloodshed for the people on the ground; so he welcomes the fact that the government of Kosovo and the government of Serbia have both made it very clear that they intend to renounce violent actions; he very much hopes that this is going to be so in the next days and coming weeks
||Frank-Walter Steinmeier (in GERMAN) saying that they will try to agree on the necessary European response in the course of the day; they will work towards making that response a united one; they are aware of the fact that the discussions over the last few weeks and months have not always been easy; again he expects the day's discussions will not be easy; but he is confident that in the course of events, in the course of the discussions that they are going to have, they will be in a position at the end of the day to have a united response on the part of the EU
||Frank-Walter Steinmeier entering the Council building
||Arrival of Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Miguel Ángel Moratinos (in SPANISH) saying that the government of Spain will not recognise the unilateral act proclaimed by the assembly of Kosovo; they will not recognise it because they consider this does not respect international law
||Miguel Ángel Moratinos entering the Council building