17/12/2013 - Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)
Ukraine protests and humanitarian issues discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council
Meeting at the Foreign Affairs Council on 16 December, ministers discussed a wide range of issues, including the latest developments in the Syrian crisis and recent events in Ukraine.
As part of a discussion on follow-up to the recent third Eastern partnership summit, ministers held an in-depth discussion on current events in Ukraine. The High Representative also reported back on her recent visit to Kiev.
Ministers also discussed the worsening humanitarian situation in Syria and ways that the EU could continue to provide assistance. They looked at the state of play in implementing proposals to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control. They also discussed at the political dimension of the crisis and what the EU can contribute to the forthcoming Geneva II peace talks, scheduled for 22 January 2014.
Ministers also discussed the political and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) and adopted conclusions. In particular, they welcomed the French intervention in support of the African-led support mission (MISCA) and reiterated the EU’s willingness to support efforts to stabilise the country.
The Geneva II peace conference
The Geneva II peace conference was proposed by the UN with the aim of resolving the Syrian civil war. Its goal is to bring together the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition to discuss ending the war and putting in place a transitional government for Syria with full executive powers. It is set to take place in Geneva on 22 January 2014.
Other topics on the agenda
The High Representative updated ministers on the last round of negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme, which took place in Geneva on 20-24 November.
Ministers also debated and adopted conclusions on the ongoing crisis in Lebanon. Their discussions focussed in particular on the humanitarian situation and the EU's continued commitment to providing humanitarian assistance.
In preparation for the next General Affairs Council meeting, ministers discussed foreign policy aspects of the enlargement process in the Western Balkans.
Ministers also adopted conclusions on:
- the Middle East peace process
- the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region
- Myanmar/Burma, following the latest EU-Myanmar Task Force session on 13-15 November
- the ongoing crisis in Libya
Over lunch, ministers met with the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to discuss the EU's bilateral relations with Russia in preparation for the EU-Russia summit in January 2014.