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COUNCIL OF
THE EUROPEAN UNION

EN

12560/10

PRESSE 217

PR CO 13

PRESS RELEASE

3029th Council meeting

Foreign Affairs

Brussels, 26 July 2010

President Ms Catherine ASHTON
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Main results of the Council

The Council adopted a comprehensive package of EU sanctions against Iran, implementing and accompanying UN Security Council requirements and targeting people, companies and sectors directly involved in Iran's nuclear programme and other areas. It also adopted conclusions reiterating the EU's continuing commitment to the goal of a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

The Council had a broad strategic discussion on the EU's future relations with Sudan and adopted conclusions underlining the need for full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The High Representative briefed the Council on her recent trip to the Middle East, particularly her visit to Gaza. The Council underlined the need for the revival of the economy of Gaza and repeated the EU's call for the proximity talks to lead as soon as possible to the resumption of direct peace negotiations leading to a settlement on the basis of a two-state solution within 24 months.

Ministers discussed the Western Balkans over lunch. They stressed the need to recreate momentum for change in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the elections in October. The also discussed Kosovo, following the International Court of Justice's ruling of last week.

The Council adopted a declaration condemning the execution of the French citizen Michel Germaneau who had been held hostage by the Al-Qaida Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI).

The Council also adopted conclusions on Kyrgyzstan and the European Neighbourhood Policy.

CONTENTS1

PARTICIPANTS

ITEMS DEBATED

SUDAN

IRAN

Iran’s nuclear programme – Council conclusions

GAZA / MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS

WESTERN BALKANS

OTHER ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  • European Neighbourhood Policy – Council conclusions

  • Kyrgyzstan – Council conclusions

  • EU monitoring mission in Georgia

  • Restrictive measures against Eritrea

SOCIAL POLICY

  • Implementation of UN resolutions on women, peace and security

PARTICIPANTS

High Representative

Ms Catherine ASHTON High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Belgium:

Mr Steven VANACKERE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Institutional Reforms

Bulgaria:

Mr Nickolay MLADENOV Minister for Foreign Affairs

Czech Republic:

Mr Karel SCHWARZENBERG Minister for Foreign Affairs

Denmark:

Mr. Michael Zilmer-Johns State Secretary for Foreign Policy

Germany:

Mr Guido WESTERWELLE Minister for Foreign Affairs

Estonia:

Mr Raul Mälk Permanent Representative

Ireland:

Mr Dick ROCHE Minister of State for European Affairs

Greece:

Mr Dimitrios DROUTSAS Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

Spain:

Mr Miguel Ángel MORATINOS CUYAUBÉ Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

France:

Mr Pierre LELLOUCHE State Secretary with responsibility for European Affairs

Italy:

Mr Franco FRATTINI Minister for Foreign Affairs

Cyprus:

Mr Markos Kyprianou Minister for Foreign Affairs

Latvia:

Mr Aivis RONIS Minister for Foreign Affairs

Lithuania:

Mr Audronius AŽUBALIS Minister for Foreign Affairs

Luxembourg:

Mr Jean ASSELBORN Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration

Hungary:

Mr János MARTONYI Minister for Foreign Affairs

Malta:

Mr Tonio BORG Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Netherlands:

Mr Tom de BRUIJN Permanent Representative

Austria:

Mr Michael SPINDELEGGER Federal Minister for European and International Affairs

Poland:

Mr Radoslaw SIKORSKI Minister for Foreign Affairs

Portugal:

Mr Luis AMADO Minister for Foreign Affairs

Mr Pedro LOURTIE Secretary of State for European Affairs

Romania:

Mr Teodor BACONSCHI Minister for Foreign Affairs

Slovenia:

Mr Samuel ŽBOGAR Minister for Foreign Affairs

Slovakia:

Mr Mikulas DZURINDA Minister for Foreign Affairs

Finland:

Mr Jan STORE Permanent Representative

Sweden:

Mr Carl BILDT Minister for Foreign Affairs

United Kingdom:

Mr William HAGUE First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Commission:

Ms Kristalina GEORGIEVA Member

Mr Štefan FÜLE Member

ITEMS DEBATED

SUDAN

The Council held a broad strategic discussion on the European Union's relations with Sudan, following the general elections in April and ahead of the referendum on South Sudan's self-determination in January. It adopted the following conclusions.

"1. The Council recognises the enormous challenges facing Sudan over the forthcoming months while noting the opportunities that exist for securing lasting peace and stability for the Sudanese people. In the context of this critical period, during the final stages of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the Council underlines the EU’s readiness to support:

  • the upcoming referenda processes in South Sudan and Abyei through substantial technical and financial assistance,

  • peaceful implementation of the CPA, reaching an agreement on post-referendum issues and working towards long term regional stability,

  • the work of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel,

  • capacity building and assistance to meet the challenges faced by South Sudan,

  • efforts to address insecurity and reach a lasting peace settlement for Darfur,

  • the work of the International Criminal Court,

  • continued development and humanitarian assistance across Sudan.

The EU reiterates its commitment to coordinate closely with the Sudanese parties, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), IGAD, the United States and other national, regional and international partners.

2. The Council reiterates its strong support to the full and timely implementation of the CPA, including the holding of the referenda on Abyei and on self determination in South Sudan in January 2011. The Council expresses concern over the delays and urges the Sudanese parties to make progress in key areas of CPA implementation such as the finalisation of the border demarcation and the organisation of the Abyei referendum. The Council calls upon the Sudanese authorities to continue the preparations for credible and inclusive popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

3. Ensuring peaceful and constructive relations between the parties irrespective of the outcome of the referendum is of crucial importance for the people of Sudan and the wider region. The Council welcomes the recent formal launch of the negotiations on post-referendum issues, engaging the main parties in Khartoum and Juba and calls on all parties to strive for inclusiveness in this process. The Council stresses the importance of reaching agreement before the referendum on South Sudan's self determination. It supports the AU High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan under the aegis of former President Thabo Mbeki. In that vein the Consultative Forum for Sudan plays a crucial role in supporting the efforts of the Sudanese parties to fulfil their commitments. In addition, the Council stresses the important role of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission.

4. The Council welcomes the establishment of the South Sudan referendum commission in view of preparing the referendum in South Sudan and urges all actors to expedite further preparatory work in particular with regard to voter registration. The EU remains fully engaged in supporting the preparations of the referendum, notably in close collaboration with UNMIS (United Nations Mission in Sudan). The Council underlines the importance of transparent and credible referenda which clearly reflect the will of the people and whose outcomes are accepted by all.

5. The Council expresses its readiness to send an EU Election Observer Mission to Sudan on time to observe all steps of the referendum process, including voter registration, and looks forward to receiving an early invitation from the Sudanese authorities. It recalls the recommendations made by the EU Election Observer Mission in the follow-up to the Sudanese elections in April 2010 whose central aspects should be taken into account when preparing for the referendum. This includes in particular the necessary improvements regarding voter registration, the neutrality of security services and armed forces, freedom of media and respect of Human Rights and regarding the transparency of the overall process.

6. The Council recognises that South Sudan faces significant development challenges regardless of the outcome of the referendum. The Council urges the Government of South Sudan to actively consider how it will address these challenges, notably those related to governance, rule of law, capacity building and the capability to deliver basic social services. The EU is strongly committed - through Union instruments and bilateral cooperation by Member States – to support the Government of South Sudan in addressing these issues. The EU also remains committed to intensive political dialogue with the Government of Sudan in Khartoum on issues of mutual concern.

7. The Council expresses concern about a pattern of increasing political repression and the deteriorating environment for civil and political rights in all areas of Sudan. It is, in this respect, deeply concerned about the recent closure of newspapers and the arrests of a number of journalists. It remains greatly concerned about the overall human rights situation in Sudan, particularly as regards Human Rights Defenders. Specific attention should be paid to the protection of children affected by armed conflict.

8. The Council calls on all parties to end hostilities in Darfur and is increasingly concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation. Attacks on civilians and on United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) constitute a war crime. The increasing cases of abductions of humanitarian aid workers, both Sudanese and international staff, are unacceptable. The Council emphasises the particular responsibility of the Government of Sudan to take effective action against perpetrators and to bring an end to impunity. The Council calls upon all parties including the Government of Sudan to allow urgent, unimpeded access to all populations in need of humanitarian assistance. The Council supports the important role of UNAMID in Darfur, reaffirms the priorities of protecting civilians and enabling humanitarian access and calls on the Government of Sudan to remove all obstacles to UNAMID’s full and proper discharge of its mandate.

9. The Council calls for increased international efforts in support of the ongoing AU/UN initiatives towards an inclusive political solution in Darfur, addressing the root causes of the conflict, ensuring the protection and promotion of human rights, justice and reconciliation and adequate participation of civil society. It expresses support for the AU/UN Mediation and welcomes its achievements so far, including efforts for increased participation of Darfurians, especially women, civil society organisations and internally displaced persons and refugees, in the peace process.

10. The Council welcomes the signing of a framework agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement towards a global peace agreement, calls on other rebel groups to join the negotiations and stresses the need for an all inclusive process that would lead to the conclusion of a comprehensive peace agreement for Darfur.

11. The EU remains committed to responding to the humanitarian needs in all parts of Sudan. Moreover, the Council recalls its decision on mobilizing decommitted funds from the 9th EDF (EUR 150 million) to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations in Sudan, in particular in the war-affected areas, including the South of Sudan and Darfur, in the border regions between North and South Sudan (the Three Areas) and in East Sudan. The funding complements ongoing development and humanitarian programmes in Sudan, including over EUR 500 million in development assistance committed since 2005 and over EUR 750 million in humanitarian assistance since 2003. In addition, support is provided under the Instrument for Stability (EUR 15 million) for the provision of basic services in South Sudan and the referendum process.

12. The Council recognizes the regional complexity and the internal and cross-border implications of conflicts, as well as the challenges related to the Nile water resource issue. The EU will ensure enhanced diplomatic efforts with the AU, League of Arab States (LAS), IGAD and the East African Community (EAC) to foster regional integration.

13. The Council recalls that war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide are the most serious crimes of concern to the international community and that impunity for these crimes can never be accepted. The Council reiterates its support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and calls upon the Government of Sudan to cooperate fully with the ICC in accordance with its obligations under international law."

IRAN

The Council discussed the Iranian nuclear programme today and adopted a set of restrictive measures against Iran in response to the European Council's request of 17 June 2010 and in pursuit of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 (2010) imposing a fourth round of sanctions.

The Council adopted conclusions, along with a Decision on a package of restrictive measures to be imposed on Iran in the areas of trade, financial services, energy and transport and also a Regulation extending the list of entities and individuals subject to an assets freeze.

Iran’s nuclear programme – Council conclusions

"The Council recalls that the European Council has repeatedly underlined its deepening concerns about Iran's nuclear programme and in that regard, welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 introducing new restrictive measures against Iran.

In accordance with the European Council Declaration of 17 June, the Council has today adopted a Decision implementing the measures contained in UN Security Council Resolution 1929 as well as accompanying measures, with a view to supporting the resolution of all outstanding concerns regarding Iran's development of sensitive technologies in support of its nuclear and missile programmes, through negotiation.

The Council notes that the Council Decision provides a comprehensive and robust package of measures in the areas of trade, financial services, energy, transport as well as additional designations for visa ban and asset freeze, in particular for Iranian banks, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). These measures correspond to the areas identified by the European Council in June.

The Council again reaffirms the longstanding commitment of the European Union to work for a diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear issue. The Council welcomes and fully supports the efforts of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to resume talks in this regard. The Council calls on Iran to seize this opportunity to allay the concerns of the international community about its nuclear programme and agree on a concrete date for talks with the EU High Representative, together with the six countries.

The Council reaffirms the validity of the June 2008 proposals made to Iran. The aim of the EU is to achieve a comprehensive and long-term settlement which would rebuild international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme, while respecting Iran's legitimate rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the NPT. The Council recalls that the EU’s objective remains to engage in meaningful negotiations about the Iranian nuclear programme and other issues of mutual concern with the ultimate goal of establishing a comprehensive relationship between the EU and Iran, involving cooperation in all fields (economic, nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, political and security) and benefiting both sides."

GAZA / MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS

The High Representative briefed the Council on her recent trip to the Middle East and in particular on her visit to Gaza. The Council underlined the urgent need for a lasting solution to the situation in Gaza and for the revival of its economy. It called for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza. It discussed the possible role the EU could play in contributing to improved access.

The High Representative, in a statement to the press on behalf of the Council, reiterated the EU's call for the proximity talks to lead as swiftly as possible to the resumption of direct peace talks leading to a settlement on the basis of a two-state solution negotiated between the parties within 24 months. She urged the parties to find a satisfactory way of addressing all the final status issues, reaffirmed the EU's commitment to its position on the Middle East Peace Process set out in the December 2009 Council conclusions, urged the Israeli government to end all settlement activities, appealed to both sides to avoid any provocative actions and called for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit.

WESTERN BALKANS

Ministers discussed the Western Balkans during their working lunch. They recalled the EU's unequivocal commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries in line with the Thessaloniki Agenda. They held an exchange of views on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the basis of input from the High Representative and Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Commissioner Stefan Füle. They discussed the need to recreate momentum for change in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the elections in October, with a stronger EU presence to use the EU perspective for BiH as a driver for change.

During lunch, ministers also discussed the situation in Kosovo and Kosovo's future path towards EU integration, following the publication of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on 22 July. They discussed the way forward and stressed that the opinion opened a new phase and that the focus should now be on the future. They reiterated the readiness of the EU to facilitate a process of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. This dialogue would be to promote cooperation, achieve progress on the path to Europe and improve the lives of the people.

OTHER ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

The Council adopted a declaration condemning the execution of the French citizen Michel Germaneau.

Under other business, the Council heard a presentation by the Spanish Foreign Minister on Cuba. It also briefly discussed Georgia, Ukraine, Kaliningrad and the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit.

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

European Neighbourhood Policy – Council conclusions

"1. Recalling its Conclusions of 18-19 June 2007 and of 18 February 2008, the Council thanks the Commission for its Communication taking stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), of 12 May 2010, welcomes the progress made so far and confirms the strategic importance for the European Union of building strong relations with its neighbours based on common values. The Communication provides a useful basis for reflection by the Council on the further implementation of the ENP, with a view to making it more effective and more attractive to all ENP partners.

2. Since its launch in 2004, the ENP as a single policy framework, based inter alia on partnership and joint ownership, as well as performance-driven differentiation and tailor-made assistance, has brought tangible benefits both for ENP partners and the EU. Moreover, the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean have added a regional dimension. The ENP has also led to deepening of relations and to significant progress in strengthening bilateral cooperation with Mediterranean and Eastern partners, which are of strategic importance to the EU. The EU stands ready to work further on these developments.

At the same time, partners need to make further tangible progress towards good governance and political reform, as these constitute core elements for the development of enhanced relations with the EU. A stronger relationship requires enhanced commitments in all areas of the relationship, including democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The EU will continue to work with the ENP partners on implementation of these commitments.

3. The Council notes the benefits which market opening has brought both the EU and ENP partners and aims at further trade liberalisation, including greater market access. Regulatory alignment is particularly important in this regard and ENP partners should do more to capitalise on the advantages this brings. Furthermore, the EU will continue to pursue the establishment of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) with ENP partners, following a thorough economic analysis and once they have met the necessary conditions.

4. The Council recalls the importance of people-to-people contacts as a means to promote mutual understanding as well as business, civil society and cultural ties. It welcomes the progress reached so far in this field with several ENP partners. Bearing in mind the importance of a secure environment, the EU stands ready to promote well-managed mobility of citizens of Eastern Partnership and Mediterranean partners.

5. The Council acknowledges the need to accompany market opening, economic integration and regulatory convergence as well as the process of strengthening bilateral relations, throughout the neighbourhood, with appropriate financial support, technical assistance and capacity building. The Council recalls that financial envelopes are determined “using transparent and objective criteria and taking into account the specific characteristics and needs of the country and the region concerned, the level of ambition of the EU’s partnership with a given country, progress towards implementing agreed objectives, including on governance and reform, and the capacity of managing and absorbing Community assistance”1. The Council will return to the issue of financial support in the context of discussions on the next multi-annual financial framework. Furthermore, the Neighbourhood Investment Facility has proved to be a useful initiative to support the economic development of ENP partners and their interconnection with the EU.

6. The Council notes with satisfaction the progress made on the multilateral initiatives of the ENP, notably the implementation of the multilateral track of the Eastern Partnership, the establishment of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, and looks forward to the further implementation of concrete regional projects.

7. The Council notes with concern that unresolved conflicts in the Neighbourhood continue to hamper the economic and political development of ENP partners as well as regional cooperation, stability and security. The EU will continue to seek ways of developing and using all relevant policy tools in a concerted fashion, while taking into account agreed negotiating formats and processes.

8. The Council invites the High Representative and the Commission, on the basis of the Commission Communication, to initiate a reflection on the future implementation of the ENP and conduct consultations to this end inside the Union and with ENP partners, in view of a comprehensive discussion by the Council in the first half of 2011."

Kyrgyzstan – Council conclusions

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"1. The Council welcomes the overall successful conduct of the Constitutional referendum in Kyrgyzstan, which is an important step in the ongoing process aiming at the establishment of a democratic institutional framework and the rule of law in the country. The Council invites the Kyrgyz authorities to fully implement the recommendations made by the OSCE/ODIHR in view of the parliamentary elections to take place in autumn. The EU continues to stand ready to assist Kyrgyzstan in this process.

2. In that context, the Council invites the Commission to continue providing assistance, including new assistance programmes, to the Kyrgyz authorities in the implementation of their reform programme and to contribute to sustainable economic and social development of the country. The Council welcomes the holding of the Development Forum (Donors’ Conference) to be organised by the World Bank on 27 of July in Bishkek.

3. The Council remains, nonetheless, concerned by the fragile security situation in the country and reports of continuing abuses against human rights defenders and persons belonging to the Uzbek minority. The Council urges the Kyrgyz authorities to take all possible measures to protect its population from discrimination and violence, to encourage inter-ethnic reconciliation, and to strictly uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights throughout the country. In this regard, the Council welcomes the recent agreement on principles and modalities for an OSCE Police Advisory Group that is to be sent to Kyrgyzstan.

4. The Council is concerned by the fate of returnees and internally displaced persons and calls on the Kyrgyz authorities, with the assistance of the international community, to address their needs, in particular those related to rehabilitation and reconstruction, and to ensure their protection. In this regard, the Council welcomes the humanitarian aid already being provided by the Commission, Member States and other international actors.

5. Establishing the facts behind the recent violent events in Southern Kyrgyzstan constitutes an essential prerequisite for ensuring accountability, peace and inter-ethnic reconciliation. The Council notes the initiative of the Kyrgyz leadership to conduct an enquiry into these events. The Council calls on the Kyrgyz authorities to ensure that the enquiry is conducted in an impartial, transparent and comprehensive manner, and in line with international standards. Furthermore, the EU stands ready to support the establishment of an independent international enquiry to complement the efforts of the Kyrgyz authorities, and which would enjoy full access to witnesses and material evidence in relation to the June events.

6. The EU will continue to follow the situation in Kyrgyzstan closely and to coordinate its actions with the OSCE, the UN and other relevant international organisations and actors."

EU monitoring mission in Georgia

The Council adopted a decision amending joint action 2008/736 on the EU monitoring mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia), increasing the financial reference amount by EUR 2.5 million in order to allow for additional operational needs of the mission (11116/10).

Restrictive measures against Eritrea

The Council adopted a decision amending procedural aspects of decision 2010/127/CFSP on restrictive measures against Eritrea (11958/10).

It also adopted a regulation implementing certain parts of decision 2010/127/CFSP (11959/10).

SOCIAL POLICY

Implementation of UN resolutions on women, peace and security

The Council approved indicators for implementation by the EU of UN Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security.

The indicators are aimed at strengthening accountability in implementation of its commitments on women, peace and security, and detecting progress and achievements with regard to those commitments and in implementation of the policy.

1 :

ENPI Regulation (EC Nr 1638/2006 of 24 October 2006).


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