Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, took part in the EU Foreign Affairs Council on September 21 in Brussels. He also met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
This Council, which prepares for the European Council from September 24 to 26, provided an opportunity to address the following issues:
- Eastern Mediterranean: The ministers again underscored their solidarity with Greece and Cyprus in the face of Turkey’s actions in this area and reaffirmed the importance of using all levers available to the EU, including sanctions, in order to obtain the clarifications needed from Turkey to engage in a constructive dialogue.
- Libya: The ministers reaffirmed their determination to promote a political solution under UN auspices and their collective determination to secure a lasting cessation of hostilities and to ensure compliance with the arms embargo, notably through concrete actions by Operation Irini. The Council adopted new sanctions in order to help achieve these goals.
- Belarus: The ministers reaffirmed their solidarity with the Belarusian people and reaffirmed their determination to punish the abuses observed in terms of the crackdown and election fraud. France again expressed its support for the establishment of an inclusive national political dialogue and reaffirmed its support for the mediation efforts proposed by the OSCE chairmanship. On the sidelines of this Council, the ministers will meet with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
- Lebanon: In follow-up to President Macron’s visit to Beirut on September 1, the ministers reaffirmed Europe’s solidarity with this country and the importance they attach to the swift formation of a new government and the effective implementation of the anticipated reforms.
The ministers also reviewed relations with Russia, the African Union, China (a few days after the EU-China summit), the European Neighborhood Policy with respect to the southern shore of the Mediterranean, with the goal of launching a true “southern partnership,” and finally, the situation in Venezuela.
Following the Foreign Affairs Council, the Minister met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. They addressed challenges to European security. The minister brought up the issue of the Southern Mediterranean and reiterated the necessary clarifications we await from Turkey, including within the NATO framework, as well as the work by the focus group on the future of NATO initiated at the behest of France and Germany in November 2019.