Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu participated on Monday, December 10, 2018, in the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, which tackled a series of up-to-date topics on the European agenda, such as the Western Balkans, cooperation between the EU and the African Union, Ukraine, Iran, Venezuela.
The discussion on the Western Balkans focused on developments in the region, including the status of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. The ministers assessed the prospects of implementing the Prespa Agreement and the post-election situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, pleading for the continuation of the reform process in the entire region. Minister Teodor Meleșcanu welcomed the opportunity to discuss the Western Balkans situation, considering the increased dynamics of the relations with the EU.
On the same lines, he shared Romania’s assessment of the developments in the region, and informed that the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union intends to maintain the Western Balkans and the EU enlargement process as a priority on the agenda, thus ensuring the advancement of the European perspective in the region, based on individual progress. The debates regarding the cooperation between the EU and the African Union took place in preparation of the joint ministerial meeting which will take place in Brussels on January 21-22, 2019.
The Romanian minister of foreign affairs referred to the importance of the future reunion in terms of implementing the actions agreed upon during the Abidjan Summit in 2017. In this context, he expressed support for the complementarity between the new Africa–Europe Alliance for sustainable investment and employment and the measures adopted in Abidjan. He insisted on the level of ambition and commitment that should serve as basic principles for guiding the new type of partnership, which shall surpass the traditional donor-beneficiary logic. During the exchange of opinions regarding Ukraine, there was an analysis of the context for the recent tensions in the Black Sea, near the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Straight, under the circumstances of Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine. It resulted in the EU’s firm message on the need to release the tension, free the crew, resume navigation and observance of international rights and commitments. In this context, the Romanian minister of foreign affairs reiterated commitment and support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as condemnation and non-recognition of Crimea’s illegal annexation.
During the session on Iran, the ministers of foreign affairs reviewed the latest developments regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as well as regional and international developments.
During the discussion on Venezuela, the ministers exchanged opinions regarding the international community’s efforts to provide solutions for the internal crisis, including from the perspective of President Nicolas Maduro’s taking over a new mandate on January 10, 2019.
In the morning, the Romanian minister of foreign affairs joined his European counterparts for an informal working breakfast hosted by Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl, with the participation of the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer. The discussions focused on the EU-ICRC cooperation in the context of humanitarian crises, including Syria and Yemen.
In the margins of the FAC meeting, Minister Teodor Meleșcanu had a bilateral meeting with Nikos Christodoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, taking the opportunity to address common interest topics on the European and international agendas, including aspects related to Romania’s priorities in the eve of taking over the Presidency of the EU Council.