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Council stands by Kiev for free and fair presidential elections

Meeting in the Foreign Affairs Council, EU ministers strongly condemned recent violent events in Ukraine and the organisation of the referendum in Eastern regions. They also adopted conclusions on terrorists attacks and the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria.

The Council considers illegitimate and illegal any referendum on Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and all parties needs to take place to allow the holding of free and fair Ukrainian Presidential elections on 25 May throughout the entire territory of Ukraine. The Council took note of the recent declarations from the President of the Russian Federation and expects support for the holding of these elections.

EU ministers confirmed the EU commitment to the Geneva Joint Statement of 17 April on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens, and called on all parties involved to fully implement it.

The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Mr. Didier Burkhalter, attended the meeting and held an exchange of views with ministers on the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and his visit to Moscow. EU ministers welcomed and encouraged the work of the OSCE mission, on implementing the Geneva Joint Statement and establishing round tables to develop a national dialogue.

Ukrainian authorities need to reach out to all  regions on a constitutional reform process.

In order to assist Ukraine in the field of civilian security sector reform, including police and rule of law, the Council tasked the European External Action Service to work on elements for a possible civilian CSDP mission.  

The Council also agreed on a new set of sanctions and took note of the preparatory work done by the Commission and Member States on possible targeted measures, as requested by the European Council in March. The EU will pay particular attention to the attitude and behaviour towards the holding of free and fair Presidential elections when deciding about their implementation.

Expanded sanctions criteria

In light of the recent events in Eastern Ukraine and the illegal confiscation of entities in Crimea, the Council widened the scope of EU sanctions allowing them to target:

  • persons and entities associated with actions and policies undermining stability or security in Ukraine as well as with obstructing the work of international organisations
  • entities in Crimea and Sevastopol which have been confiscated or which have benefited from such  confiscation

13 persons have been added to the list, bringing the total number of persons subject to  sanctions to 61, while two confiscated entities in Crimea and Sevastopol will be subject to an asset freeze.

Council broadens EU sanctions regarding the situation in Ukraine  

Other topics on the agenda

In their conclusions, EU ministers expressed their deep concern at recent developments related to the Middle East Peace Process. The EU has fully supported and praises US peace efforts deployed by Secretary of State Kerry and his team. The extensive efforts deployed in recent months must not go to waste. The Council confirmed the full support of the EU to resume negotiations. 

The Council strongly condemns the recent terrorist attacks in northern Nigeria leading to the killing of hundreds of civilians and the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls. Ministers offered their support to Nigeria and their intention to take appropriate measures against Boko Haram in cooperation with the UN. 

Over lunch, ministers discussed the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Finally, the Council adopted a number of points without discussion:

FAC Roundup Video - 12 May

FAC Press conference Video - 12 May

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