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Lajčák at FAC: “Reforms are important for overall stability of Ukraine and its further development"

Lajčák at FAC: “Reforms are important for overall stability of Ukraine and its further development"

6.2.2017 | Aktivity ministra | Slovensko a Európska únia

Developments in Ukraine in light of the escalating violence in its south-east, political and security developments in Libya, as well as prospects for developing relations with Egypt as one of the most important partners for the EU in the Middle East were up for discussion Monday (6 February 2017) during the regular EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, attended by Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák.


 
The FAC talks were dominated by the current situation in Ukraine. The ministers expressed concerns over the new wave of fighting in the south-east, where dozens people lost their lives in armed conflicts around the city of Avdijivka in the Donetsk region last week, and called for an immediate adherence to the ceasefire agreement.  They emphasized that the Minsk agreements remain the only basis for the peaceful conflict resolution. They also evaluated the state of play vis-à-vis structural reforms and opportunities for further EU engagement in supporting the country´s leadership – emphasizing the importance of the reforms for the overall stability of the country and its further development, especially in fighting corruption and the independence of the judiciary.  “We appreciated that Ukraine has recently put several important reforms into practice, for instance in banking or the police.  However, it’s important to explain to inhabitants the sense of these reforms and to maintain the people´s trust in the reform-oriented leadership of the country,” said Lajčák. The Slovak Republic fully supports the early implementation of a visa-free regime for the citizens of Ukraine, which will significantly influence bilateral relations and inter-personal contacts. Lajčák called upon finalizing the ratification process of the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Ukraine and highlighted the role of Ukraine as a strategic partner in transporting oil and gas from Russia.


 
On the eve of the 3rd anniversary of Crimea having been annexed, the EU member states underlined the invariability of their positions in relation to the territorial integrity of Ukraine and non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia. 

 


The ministers also discussed the developments in Libya. Although more than a year passed since the signature of the Libyan Political Agreement in Schirato, Morocco, the political and security situation in the country has not stabilized.  The so-called Government of National Accord (GNA) does not have real executive power in Tripoli nor in the eastern part of the country.  The political and security fragmentation has also led to a huge migration wave towards the Italian coasts. Therefore, EU Foreign Affairs Ministers adopted conclusions reiterating their call upon the GNA President Fayez al-Sarraj and the head o the Opposition forces of Marshal Haftar for a constructive dialogue.  According to the FAC conclusions, the engagement by Libya's neighbors and by regional organizations, such as the African Union and the League of Arab States, should also play a special role.
“The solution could lie in uniting Libyan armed forces and groups into one entity based on the political agreement made by the Libyan parties. Stabilizing the situation in Libya is an issue affecting all of us, especially in light of the uncontrolled flow of illegal migrants from Libya to Europe,” said Lajčák, recalling that this was also delved into during the Valletta summit last week on migration – with a special focus on developments on the Central Mediterranean route and Libya. Through a cooperation package valued €120 million, as well as through short-term assistance employing various funding instruments, the EU will still provide aid to Libya. 


 
In this context, the ministers stressed the need to perceive Egypt as a key regional partner not only in relation to Libya but also in addressing migration issues, fighting terrorism, and Syria. The importance of the cooperation with Egypt should also be reflected in a special cooperation framework with the EU where we want to support economic and democratic reforms, cooperate in redressing migration and terrorism, and last but not least in reinforcing stability and security of the country and the region as a whole.


 
This was also followed up on by the talks of the Council of Ministers on the Middle East peace process, wherein the situation has further worsened especially due to the ongoing extension of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  As Lajčák said, the Slovak Republic promotes all the meaningful initiatives targeted at restoring direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.  “We consider it to be the best way to arrive at a lasting solution.  Both parties are responsible for the current security situation, which has led to a dangerous boost of radicalism," said the Minister. As for the potential transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem, Lajčák emphasized that it is necessary to take into account possible consequences of the success of the peace process and the future of the entire region – as the status of Jerusalem is one of the main issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Na koordinačnom zasadnutí V4 pre začiatkom FAC Na koordinačnom zasadnutí V4 pre začiatkom FAC So slovinským ministrom zahraničných vecí Karlom Erjavcom So slovinským ministrom zahraničných vecí Karlom Erjavcom S ministrami zahraničných vecí Maďarska a Rakúska S ministrami zahraničných vecí Maďarska a Rakúska
S ministrom zahraničných vecí Veľkej Británie Borisom Johnsonom. S ministrom zahraničných vecí Veľkej Británie Borisom Johnsonom. S ministrom zahranicnych veci Slovinska Karlom Erjavcom,v pozadi sefovia rezortov diplomacie Madarska a Rakuska S ministrom zahranicnych veci Slovinska Karlom Erjavcom,v pozadi sefovia rezortov diplomacie Madarska a Rakuska
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