Ministers discussed the Southern Neighbourhood, focusing on Syria. The High Representative informed the Council of her recent outreach efforts with key actors in the region, in line with the European Council mandate and in full support of the efforts of the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. The High Representative referred to, in particular, her most recent visits to Iran on 29 October and to Saudi Arabia on 31 October. In its conclusions on Iran, which were adopted without debate, the Council welcomed this outreach and invited the High Representative to continue her work. The Council expressed its concern at the escalation of tensions in the region, and called for a more constructive regional environment, as well as an end to the violence in Syria and support for the resumption of a political process.
The Council also adopted a decision adding 17 ministers and the Governor of the Central Bank of Syria to those subject to sanctions imposed against the Syrian regime over the violent repression of the civilian population.