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Russia

"We had, among the 28, unanimity on five guiding principles of the European Union's policy towards Russia"

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Highlights of the Foreign Affairs Council on 14 March in Brussels

The Council unanimously agreed on five principles guiding the EU's policy towards Russia:

• Implementation of the Minsk agreement as the key condition for any substantial change in the EU's stance towards Russia.
• Strengthened relations with the EU's Eastern Partners and other neighbours, in particular in Central Asia.
• Strengthening the resilience of the EU (for example energy security, hybrid threats, or strategic communication).
• Need for selective engagement with Russia on issues of interest to the EU.
• Need to engage in people-to-people contacts and support Russian civil society.

 Iran

The Council discussed relations with Iran and possible areas of re-engagement following the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the lifting of all nuclear-related EU sanctions. The High Representative briefed ministers on her planned trip to Tehran on 16 April, where she, accompanied by a delegation of Commissioners, will explore different areas of cooperation with Iran. These include trade and investment, energy, transport, environment, migration, human rights, the fight against drugs, as well as education, research and science.

Burundi

The Council concluded consultations with Burundi under article 96 of the EU-ACP partnership agreement (Cotonou agreement).  It noted that commitments proposed by the Burundian government are insufficient to address EU concerns. The EU is suspending direct financial support to the Burundian government, while fully maintaining both its financial support to the population and humanitarian assistance.