EU should support peace and security through maximum diplomacy

High Representative Federica Mogherini notes the situations in Sudan and Yemen as positive examples

Photo: EPA European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini

The European Union exercises maximum diplomacy with everybody during crises. This is the natural role of the EU in support of peace, security and democracy, said the High Representative Federica Mogherini following the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday.

"This is the feature of the European Union engagement worldwide and in the region," Mogherini said. "It is true, sometimes you do not have the results you would dream of. But sometimes you have to ask yourselves, what if we did not do this? Maybe the results on the ground would be even worse if there was not a power like the European Union and the Member States engaged in maximum diplomacy also to counterbalance some other attitudes that we see growing in the world - more confrontational ones, if I can say so," she added.

The High Representative also mentioned the democratic transition in Sudan as a good story and a positive example.

"We always tackle crises that seem impossible to be solved. In this case we have a good story that could represent not only success in itself, but also an inspiration for the rest of the region, for Africa, for the Arab world, and for our world in general," Mogherini said, as the bloc announced Monday an additional financial support amounting to €55m to Sudan for humanitarian aid.

Nevertheless, the High Representative stressed the role the EU plays and can further play in supporting peace processes, democratic transition and security. The HRVP and the ministers discussed their readiness to support a genuine intra-Afghan peace process and a Gulf security initiative that sees the region and the regional actors as the key drivers.

"We believe that there is enough awareness today in the region to understand that an escalation would be detrimental to everybody’s interests and also to European security. We had an open discussion about how we can contribute to this in the coming months," Mogherini said.

"It is not for the EU to launch an initiative that would need to be region-lead and owned, but it is for the European Union to offer support and accompany such initiative", Mogherini added.

Some positive developments and elements of optimism may appear on Yemen, with intentions declared and some steps in the right direction taken between the Saudis and the Houthis. In this context, however, efforts to de-escalate tensions are made increasingly difficult by Iran's latest actions that are inconsistent with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom and the High Representative of the European Union are extremely concerned by the latest announcements that Iran is restarting uranium enrichment activities – confirmed by the IAEA latest reports - and urged Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the JCPOA.

"I remain convinced that Yemen is at the same time the most dramatic, but also politically the easiest of the crises in the region to be solved, if there is enough political will from all the sides. As you know, and as you mentioned, the EU has tried to contribute to - I would say - help the different parties to identify the common ground, common interest that they could share in putting an end to the war and finding a solution to the war in Yemen. I hope that this can be something that we would see in the future," Mogherini noted.

Similarly, the HRVP and the ministers would like to see political forces joining efforts in Afghanistan in view of a formal peace process to be launched between a legitimate government following the elections and the Taliban, with the international community and some regional players accompanying this properly.

"In this, we see a role for the European Union. The Afghans see a role for the European Union, because we have no hidden agendas. We have an interest only in peace, security and stability and rights for the Afghan people. And in this respect, we are ready to support," Mogherini said.

In conclussion, Mogherini stressed how this action of maximum diplomacy "becomes more and more important as it becomes harder to implement". It is fundamental, thus, that the EU and the Member States will continue in the future to play this role of diplomatic engagement in support of peace, security and democracy all around the world.

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