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Press Release - Foreign Minister Marcoullis participates in the first Foreign Affairs Council during the Cyprus Presidency
23.07.2012, 17:12 (CET)
The situation in Syria, developments following election results in Libya and “energy and foreign policy” were a few of the issues on the agenda, as EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs met in Brussels today. It was the first Foreign Affairs Council taking place during the Cyprus Presidency and was attended by Cyprus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis.

“The EU supports the efforts of the UN for a peaceful resolution of crisis in Syria, in particular the implementation of the six-point Plan drawn up by Special Envoy Kofi Annan.  If the need arises for the evacuation of EU or Third Country citizens to be evacuated from the region, the Republic of Cyprus is ready to provide assistance for their repatriation,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis to reporters, as she was entering the Council building in Brussels.  

The situation in Syria was one of the many issues discussed during the Foreign Affairs Council, the first such Council during the Cyprus Presidency, presided, as stipulated by the Lisbon Treaty, by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR), Baroness Ashton.  In their conclusions following the meeting, the Ministers decided the strengthening of the enforcement of the arms embargo on Syria. 

In her intervention, Dr. Marcoullis expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation on the ground, which may lead to a full scale civil war in the country, with spillover effects.  Minister Marcoullis stressed the important role of the UN Security Council in supporting the Annan Plan for Syria, endorsing the Geneva Action Group Communiqué and making reference to Article 41 of the UN Charter to enforce compliance.  The Minister stressed that it is essential that the international community continues to hold intensive and close consultations with key players, such as Russia and China on Syria.  She reiterated that foreign military intervention in Syria should be avoided by all means, as it would have dire repercussions not only for the country, but for the whole region.

Developments in Libya and Egypt

Ministers of Foreign Affairs also discussed developments in Libya following the election results, and were briefed by the HR on her meeting with the newly installed President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi.  Speaking on Libya, Minister Marcoullis welcomed the outcome of the elections and stressed the need for the EU to fully support the country in its transition to democracy.  She added that the EU’s efforts should focus on projects in the areas of health, education and vocational training, among others.

Other issues on the agenda of the FAC included the situation in Mali/Sahel and Sudan/South Sudan, as well as developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Ministers also briefly discussed China, and Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) issues. On CSDP, the Minister stressed the importance of the EU’s capacity to act swiftly and in a comprehensive manner to crises around the world; for this reason, the development of permanent and efficient EU structures for the planning and conduct of CSDP missions and operations is vital. 

"Energy and foreign policy"

During the working lunch, Ministers discussed the issue of “energy and foreign policy”, on the basis of a non-paper prepared by the European External Action Service.  Speaking during the discussion, Minister Marcoullis stressed that EU foreign policy can help the Union to better respond to the new energy landscape.

Minister Marcoullis added that the discovery and production of hydrocarbons, and a variety of natural gas transportation projects in the Eastern Mediterranean, could potentially create new prospects of establishing a third corridor for secure energy supply to the EU. The Minister referred also to the decision of the Cyprus Presidency to organise a Ministerial Conference on the security of energy supply and the security of offshore drilling activities, in cooperation with the European Commission, and with the participation of neighbouring countries of the Southeastern Mediterranean.

In the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council, Minister Marcoullis signed, on behalf of the Council of the EU, an amended Visa Facilitation Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. 

She also participated in the Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Eastern Partnership.

Communications Officer
Charis Christodoulidou

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Email: cchristodoulidou@mfa.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22401165

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