Press Release – EU Foreign Ministers discuss situation in Gaza
19.11.2012, 19:41 (CET)
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis participated today in the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton (HR).

The deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip dominated discussions at the FAC, which took place after a joint lunch the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers.

“This issue is of grave importance to us, because of the intensity of the situation, of the loss of lives of civilians and of course because of the potential increase of tension in the neighbourhood”, stressed Dr. Marcoullis during a doorstep statement before the start of discussions.

The Foreign Affairs Council adopted Conclusions on this issue, expressing the EU’s grave concern about the situation in Gaza and Israel and deep regret over the loss of civilian life on both sides. The Ministers called for restraint to avoid any further escalation and an immediate cessation of hostilities, and offered full support to the mission of the United Nations Secretary General to the region to seek an end to hostilities.

On the Middle East Peace Process the Foreign Ministers held a thorough discussion on plans of the Palestinian National Authority to submit a resolution at the UN General Assembly to obtain non-member observer state status at the United Nations.    

The FAC also focused on the situation in Syria and international efforts for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in the relevant conclusions adopted, welcomed the agreement reached on 11 November in the meeting of the Syrian opposition groups gathered in Doha and in particular the formation of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.  The EU considers them legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people.  

Ministers also deliberated on the situation in Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in post-elections Ukraine and exchanged views on the EU’s relations with Cuba. They were also debriefed by the HR on the results of the EU-Egypt Task Force meeting which took place in Cairo on November 14.

Council Conclusions were adopted on Gaza, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Yemen and Lebanon, among other issues.

Earlier, during the joint lunch the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers under the chairmanship of the HR examined the situation in Mali, and discussed preparations for a possible EU military operation for the training of the Malian defence forces. The Ministers also held an orientation debate, in view of the European Council of December 2013 which will be dedicated to defence issues.

In the margins of the FAC meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Marcoullis and her counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Paulo Portas signed an Agreement between Cyprus and Portugal for the avoidance of double taxation.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Email: nchristodoulides@mfa.gov.cy
Telefon: +32 27395152
Mobiltel: +32 473400441
Communications Officer
Charis Christodoulidou

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Email: cchristodoulidou@mfa.gov.cy
Telefon: +357 22401165
Communications Officer
Elena Fysentzou

Ministry of Defence

Email: efysentzou@pio.moi.gov.cy
Telefon: +357 22807592

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19.11.2012 - 19.11.2012
19.11.2012 - 19.11.2012