Foreign Affairs Council, 3218th meeting: extracts from the arrivals and doorsteps
End production: 31/01/2013 First transmission: 31/01/2013
On 31 January 2013, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs chaired the 3218th meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.
The Council debated developments in the southern neighbourhood, focusing on the Arab Spring, Syria and Egypt. The EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs discussed foreign policy priorities of the new US Administration. The Council took stock of the situation in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The EU Ministers also exchanged views with the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The Council debated EU policies towards the Arctic region.
This video shows extracts of arrivals and doorsteps.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and President of the Council and soundbite (in ENGLISH): We are in constant touch with Paris and have been throughout to make sure that we are able to do what the EU does best which is to develop a strategic approach for the Sahel which enable us to engage an all the issues in Sahel from humanitarian aid to development, support for this trading mission which is so vital to get the Malian army to be able to do what it needs to do. And helping to develop the institutions, so that there will be a road to elections and a potential for the government to be able to address some of the underlined issues. So for doing that we are working very close with our colleagues in Paris.
In terms of Syria, we are very interested in what Mister Bahimi has been saying to the Security Council. We are trying to support him in every way that we can which is very good challenge. And the discussion today will focus on what more we can do and how we can take what has been said in the Security Council and try to address those challenges and issues (3 shots)
||Arrival of Radosław Sikorski, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Arrival of Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response and soundbite (in ENGLISH): Right now our biggest concern is that there is access to the North, so priority is given to humanitarian workers when they put request for travel. That has been accelerated. We are very grateful to the EU military staff for giving priority on training the military army in respect for international communitarian law.
||Soundbite by Eamon Gilmore, Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (in ENGLISH): As you know a decision was taken in December to have an EU training mission for Mali. The question of Irish participation is under active consideration of the public defence. There is a number of practical issues and I expect that the Minister of Foreign Defence will bring specific proposal to the government shortly in that regard.
||Arrival of William Hague, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and soundbite (in ENGLISH): Of course, we want to see a political, diplomatic solution in Syria, as we agreed I Geneva last year, a transitional government made of members of the current regime and member of the opposition based on mutual consent. That means that Assad could not be part of this transitional government. We want to find a political way forward and we support Mister Al-Khatib of the national coalition in their work. In our view they are the only legitimate representative in Syria (2 shots)
||Arrival of Guido Westerwelle, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and soundbite (in GERMAN) saying that he acknowledges the decision by the Malian Parliament to adopt a roadmap, this fact shows that a political solution must not only be examined but is also possible, because they can only has sustainable stability in Mali if the political solution is in the centre of international efforts. It was important and right that France provided military aid but now it is the turn of the African troops to be able to fulfil their task to restore stability in northern Mali and he supposes the German Parliament will ratify next week the mandate for a corresponding training mission, a mission that will enable African troops to assume their responsibilities in northern Mali (2 shots)
||Soundbite by Didier Reynders, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, External Trade and European Affairs (in FRENCH) saying that Belgium will bring a logistical support to the French operation in Mali. They hope that the mission will become an international operation supported by the United States and the region. It really needs to become an international mission.
||Arrival of Karel Schwarzenberg, Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs