2996th Coun­cil meet­ing For­eign Affairs

  • IRAN


The Coun­cil dis­cussed the state of play in Haiti and the EU’s con­tin­ued coor­di­nat­ed response to the earth­quake. Com­mis­sion­ers Piebal­gs and Georgie­va briefed the Coun­cil on the devel­op­ments on the ground and on their plans for fur­ther assis­tance. The High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive announced that she would vis­it Haiti in the near future.

The High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive stressed in par­tic­u­lar the need to shift to the pro­vi­sion of shel­ter, with the approach of the rainy sea­son, fol­lowed by the hur­ri­cane sea­son. A mil­lion Haitians are still home­less, of whom 100 000 are in urgent need of shel­ter. Look­ing ahead to the inter­na­tion­al donors con­fer­ence to be held at the end of March in New York, the Coun­cil stressed the need for a com­pre­hen­sive EU response in sup­port of the recon­struc­tion and devel­op­ment effort in Haiti — over which the Hait­ian gov­ern­ment must have full own­er­ship — and the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive spoke of the need for “some­thing like a Mar­shall Plan”.

When the earth­quake struck on 12 Jan­u­ary the EU imme­di­ate­ly mobilised search and res­cue teams and ear­marked some EUR 400 mil­lion for urgent human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance, recon­struc­tion and longer-term devel­op­ment. At the 25 Jan­u­ary Coun­cil, the EU set up a coor­di­na­tion cell — EUCO Haiti — to coor­di­nate the EU Mem­ber States’ pro­vi­sion of mil­i­tary and secu­ri­ty assets for the relief and recon­struc­tion effort in Haiti. Some 1 600 troops from a num­ber of EU Mem­ber States, includ­ing Italy, Spain and France, are now on the ground in Haiti, help­ing with tasks such as clear­ing rub­ble, dis­trib­ut­ing drink­ing water, pro­vid­ing trans­port, and, in par­tic­u­lar, pro­vid­ing shel­ter.

The 25 Jan­u­ary Coun­cil also announced that the EU Mem­ber States would col­lec­tive­ly con­tribute some 300 police per­son­nel to rein­force the UN Mis­sion in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Most of them have already arrived and are help­ing to keep pub­lic order in Haiti.


Min­is­ters held a dis­cus­sion on the polit­i­cal and human rights sit­u­a­tion in Iran and on the Iran­ian nuclear issue, against the back­ground of Pres­i­dent Ahmadinejad’s recent announce­ment that Iran would fur­ther enrich ura­ni­um to the lev­el of 20 per cent, which would be a sig­nif­i­cant step towards pro­duc­ing weapons-grade ura­ni­um.

The Union remains com­mit­ted to the inter­na­tion­al community’s dual-track approach of con­sid­er­ing fur­ther restric­tive mea­sures against Iran unless it responds favourably to the inter­na­tion­al community’s offer of engage­ment, whilst at the same time being ready to seek a nego­ti­at­ed solu­tion with Iran.

In line with the Decem­ber 2009 Euro­pean Coun­cil dec­la­ra­tion and giv­en the lack of a sat­is­fac­to­ry response by Iran to the inter­na­tion­al community’s offer of engage­ment and its fail­ure to respect its inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions, the Coun­cil is reflect­ing on the mea­sures that could be tak­en to accom­pa­ny the UN-led process of mov­ing towards addi­tion­al mea­sures


Over lunch, the Coun­cil held a for­ward-look­ing deci­sion on the out­come of the Ukrain­ian pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the EU’s future rela­tions with Ukraine. Min­is­ters agreed that the EU should engage with Pres­i­dent Yanukovych and the new admin­is­tra­tion in Kiev and under­lined the need for polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic reform in Ukraine.


– Under oth­er busi­ness, the Coun­cil assessed, against the back­ground of the unfold­ing events on the ground, the diplo­mat­ic efforts under way to set­tle the dis­pute between Libya and Switzer­land, involv­ing the refusal by Switzer­land of Schen­gen visas for cer­tain Libyan nation­als and the refusal by Libya of visas for cit­i­zens of the Schen­gen area. The Span­ish and Ger­man min­is­ters briefed the Coun­cil on the medi­a­tion efforts of their coun­tries and the Span­ish min­is­ter expressed hope that an agree­ment could be announced in the near future.

– The Coun­cil had an exchange of views on the killing of Mah­moud al-Mab­houh in Dubai on 20 Jan­u­ary and agreed to issue the fol­low­ing state­ment con­demn­ing the fact that those involved in the oper­a­tion had fraud­u­lent­ly used pass­ports and cred­it cards acquired through the theft of EU cit­i­zens’ iden­ti­ties (6753/10):
“The killing of Mah­moud al-Mab­houh in Dubai on 20 Jan­u­ary rais­es issues which are pro­found­ly dis­turb­ing to the Euro­pean Union.

This was an action which can­not be con­ducive to peace and sta­bil­i­ty in the Mid­dle East. The EU strong­ly con­demns the fact that those involved in this action have used fraud­u­lent EU Mem­ber States’ pass­ports and cred­it cards acquired through the theft of EU cit­i­zens’ iden­ti­ties.

The EU wel­comes the inves­ti­ga­tion by the Dubai author­i­ties and calls on all coun­tries to coop­er­ate with it. The coun­tries con­cerned in the EU are them­selves car­ry­ing out full inves­ti­ga­tions into the fraud­u­lent use of their pass­ports.

The EU is com­mit­ted to ensur­ing that both EU cit­i­zens and coun­tries around the world con­tin­ue to have con­fi­dence in the integri­ty of EU Mem­ber States’ pass­ports. It believes that its pass­ports remain among the most secure in the world ful­ly meet­ing all inter­na­tion­al stan­dards. EU Mem­ber States’ pass­ports include a range of phys­i­cal secu­ri­ty mea­sures to pre­vent forgery and abuse.”

– Min­is­ters also dis­cussed the recent human rights vio­la­tions in the Repub­lic of Belarus, against mem­bers of civ­il soci­ety, includ­ing mem­bers of the Union of Poles and stressed the need for Belarus to abide by its OSCE and inter­na­tion­al com­mit­ments.

– On the sub­ject of Niger and the coup d’e­tat on 19 Feb­ru­ary, the Coun­cil stressed that democ­ra­cy and con­sti­tu­tion­al order must be restored swift­ly. The High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive said that she would con­tin­ue to fol­low the sit­u­a­tion, in close con­tact with the Eco­nom­ic Com­mu­ni­ty of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU).

Coun­cil Of The Euro­pean Union