Foreign Affairs Council, 3236th meeting: extracts from the arrivals and doorsteps
Brussels - Council/Justus Lipsius
On 22 April 2013, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, chaired the 3236th meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, in Luxembourg.
The EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs discussed on energy security and foreign policy, with emphasis on the southern gas corridor. The Council debated events in the EU's southern neighbourhood, focusing on Syria and Lebanon. They took stock of the preparations for the Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers meeting in July 2013 in Brussels. The Council also discussed about the future relations of the EU with Myanmar/Burma and looked at the situation in Mali.
This video shows extract of the arrivals and doorsteps of the EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite by Eamon Gilmore, Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (in ENGLISH): The situation in Syria is very bad, we have the reports over the weekend on further massacre, the killing and slaughter continue, what we'll have to do is to continue to work to bring that to an end, to get a political solution to the crisis in Syria to deliver the humanitarian aid, between now and the end of May the EU will be considering the issue of the sanctions on Syria, we'll have to review before the end of May.
||Soundbite by Jean Asselborn, Luxembourgish Minister for Foreign Affairs (in FRENCH) saying that they are not discussing the arms embargo, they are talking about withdrawing some measures of economic embargo for the liberated population. Saying that he believes they will make progress on this matter. As far as arms embargo is concerned, there is no new decision to be made here.
||Soundbite by Didier Reynders, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, External Trade and European Affairs (in FRENCH) saying that they have to reinforce humanitarian action not only in Syria, but also in neighbouring countries, he thinks there is a genuine European policy to conduct on the matter. It is a way to stabilize the region, but also to fight extremism in their countries. He has already mentioned to many colleagues the phenomenon of European citizens, from Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries, who leave their country to fight next to the jihadists in Syria. He hopes they will have a discussion on the matter and form a European action, they have seen the terrorist hits in Boston, they can fear what could happen in their countries if these people return having trained in terrorism and violent actions.
||Arrival of Karel Schwarzenberg, Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Arrival of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and President of the Council
||Arrival of János Martonyi, Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Arrival of Vesna Pusić, Croatian Minister for Foreign and European Affairs
||Arrival of Dimitris Avramopoulos, Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Arrival of Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvian Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Soundbite by Guido Westerwelle, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs (in GERMAN) saying that this debate is made in the international community. The ban of arms delivery in Syria declared by the EU is a fixed-term ban. If a country or two want to supply weapons they must see that this ban will not be prolonged and then it will expire. Germany is not convinced that they should deliver arms to Syria and they have serious concerns for arms to get in the hands of the wrong people, namely terrorists. If other European partners reach a different decision they will respect it, they would not and they could not block it.
||Soundbite by Villy Søvndal, Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs (in ENGLISH): I just said that our position did not change; we discussed it the last time that we see a risk that weapons ends in the hands of someone we do not wish to give weapons. The military situation is on an even higher level so for that reason we stand where we stood when we discussed it last time but of course we are considering the situation all the time.
||Soundbite by Carl Bildt, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs (in ENGLISH): Some of us had a briefing from different humanitarian agencies yesterday, about the situation that has been developing even more alarming than we thought a couple of months ago. One of the issues I think we should discuss whether we should ask or not the Security Council to take a specific decision urging the full respect by everyone for international humanitarian law. The reports that we have from the international humanitarian organizations is that respect for international humanitarian law is deteriorating, primarily the government but not only the government, and that impairs the delivery of essential services and aid to people inside Syria. Whatever views you have on the politic of it, I would hope the members of the Security Council would agree on the need to support the international humanitarian agencies in their essential work to help the millions of people inside Syria that are suffering very heavily.
||Arrival of Milan Ježovica, Slovakian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
||Arrival of Radosław Sikorski, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Soundbite by Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response (in ENGLISH): An increased commitment by the EU to find avenues to help people in Syria. We will be discussing about the increasing needs and resources committed by the EU. We have so far provided 600 million euros in humanitarian assistance, but we realize we have to do more. We will be also looking for other ways in which we can mobilize more help for the people of Syria.
||Soundbite by William Hague, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (in ENGLISH): We will also be discussing Burma, we are in favour in the UK of lifting remaining sanctions except the arms embargo and any equipment that can be used for internal repression. The work of the EU in Burma is not remotely finished, it is important to continue work on improving human rights, on improving the humanitarian situation, in helping the Burmese to address issues of ethnic violence, particularly attacks on Muslim communities and so we will put that case here.
||Arrival of Günther Oettinger, Member of the EC in charge of Energy