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EU foreign ministers to formally to adopt measures against Turkey

July 15, 2019 at 10:39am
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The Foreign Affairs Council, chaired by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, will on Monday adopt formal measures against Turkey in response to its continued illegal activity within the Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

The package of measures prepared by Coreper on a recommendation from the Commission and the EEAS, following a political mandate from the European Council, was initially approved under silent procedure that ended Friday afternoon. The FAC officially adopts the same package as “A item” at the beginning of the agenda, while Ministers are expected to review recent developments in relation to Turkey, shortly afterwards under “current affairs”.

The package includes a cut of €146 million in EU funds from Turkey’s pre-accession funds (IPA-II already foreseen in the Council`s general budget for 2020 position), the freezing of the investment activity of the European Investment Bank in Turkey, the freezing of the EU-Turkey aviation agreement and the cancellation of a series of high-level EU-Turkey dialogues on the economy, energy, transport and agriculture (the latter has already been cancelled in practice) and finally will provide that in the event of non-compliance or further escalation the EU is also ready for targeted measures against persons and companies related to this drilling.

“We stand behind Cyprus,” said Dutch Foreign Minister Stefan Brook entering the Council venue when asked if we  should expect “sanctions” today.

Under the ‘Current Affairs’ agenda item, the High Representative and foreign ministers will touch upon recent developments in Sudan, following up on the discussion at their last meeting and Venezuela, following the visit by the newly appointed Special Adviser for Venezuela Enrique Iglesias.

Ministers will also touch on Turkey’s current illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Developments in the Council of Europe may also be raised. The High Representative may also debrief ministers on the EU-Ukraine Summit on July 8 and the EU-G5 Sahel ministerial meeting as well as her mission to several countries of the region.

Foreign ministers will discuss Iran, where they are expected to focus on the tense situation in and around the Persian Gulf region, and on ways to reduce the ongoing risk of miscalculation which could result in military escalation.

They are also due to address the current state of play regarding the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) following the meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPoA on June 28  and in light of recent developments on July 1 and 7 regarding Iran’s incremental reduction of its nuclear related commitments.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has exceeded the limits provided by the JCPoA for both the 300 kg stockpile of low-enriched uranium and the 3.67% enrichment level.

An emergency meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors was also convened on Jul 10y. The EU is deeply concerned that Iran is pursuing activities inconsistent with its commitments under the JCPoA. The EU has been consistent and clear that its commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran. Compliance issues must be addressed within the framework of the JCPoA, and a Joint Commission should be convened urgently.

The Council last discussed Iran on May 13 2019. During that meeting, foreign ministers focused on the implementation of the JCPoA following the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran and not to fully renew them for JCPoA nuclear non-proliferation projects as well as in the context of the announcement by Iran on 8 May 2019 concerning its commitments under the JCPoA. Ministers also discussed the ongoing EU efforts to enable the continuation of legitimate trade with Iran, including through the operationalisation of the special purpose vehicle “INSTEX”.

The Council will also discuss and adopt conclusions on Iraq. Foreign ministers will take stock of the situation following parliamentary elections one year ago and in the context of mounting regional tensions. The Council will discuss the situation in the Central African Republic. Ministers will reflect on how the EU could further strengthen its support to the country in view of the rising violence. The High Representative will debrief ministers on her visit to Bangui on July 12. Over lunch, EU foreign ministers will have an exchange of views with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, Nicolae Popescu.

The Council is expected to adopt a number of conclusions and decisions without debate, including conclusions on EU priorities at the United Nations and the 74th UN General Assembly.

(Cyprus News Agency)