Foreign Affairs Council, 3254th meeting: extracts from the press conference by Catherine Ashton
Type: Summary of press conference
Brussels - Council/Justus Lipsius
On 22 July 2013, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC, chaired the 3254th meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. After the Council, Catherine Ashton held a press conference where she announced the European Union's decision to blacklist Hezbollah. The Council reiterated its deep concern about the situation in Egypt and welcomed the High Representative's recent and timely visit to Cairo. It stressed that the struggle for democracy should remain central and called on all political forces to engage now in a process of reconciliation and trust building for the good of the country and its democratic future. Egypt has to move rapidly to an inclusive democratic transformation process, including by the holding of democratic elections in the shortest possible time. Concerning the Middle East peace process, the Council warmly welcomed the announcement by Secretary of State John Kerry on 19 July 2013 that an agreement has been reached establishing a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This is a crucial step towards achieving a lasting resolution to the conflict.
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 Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC, at the press conference
||Soundbite by Catherine Ashton (in ENGLISH): Let me begin by saying how committed we are to stability, sovereignty, unity, and peace in Lebanon.We strongly support all institutions in their efforts to preserve peace and security. We also encourage Lebanon's policy of dissociation from the conflict in Syria.Due to concerns over the role of Hezbollah, we have agreed to designate its Military Wing on the list of terrorist organisations. That does not prevent the continuation of dialogue with all political parties in Lebanon. We also agreed that the delivery of legitimate financial transfers to Lebanon and delivery of assistance from the European Union and its Member States will not be affected. Our position will be reviewed on a 6 monthly basis, which is the normal timeframe for review.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Catherine Ashton (in ENGLISH): In all of my conversations, I have underlined the importance of getting back to the democratic transition as swiftly as possible, the importance of release of political prisoners and the importance of an inclusive process. In our discussions today, all member states were supportive of us moving in that direction. We have been invited to consider looking at monitoring the elections that will take place in the next few months. We have been talking with all of them about the sort of roadmap they are putting in place, and we have been working hard as we have been doing over these months in support of an Egypt that belongs to the Egyptian people, fully inclusive and democratic in its future and the Council absolutely supported us in our work in doing that.
||Departure of Catherine Ashton