EU Foreign Ministers remain ready to consider further sanctions against Russia.

First, The EU foreign ministers are increasingly concerned the worsening crisis in eastern Ukraine and its humanitarian impact on the civilian population.

The need to find a political, sustainable solution to this crises has become a matter of urgency for EU. At todays extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council meeting the Council calls on the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United States and the OSCE to join the European Union in this task.

“Any unilateral military actions on the part of the Russian Federation in Ukraine under any pretext, including humanitarian, will be considered by the European Union as a blatant violation of international law”.

To this en, the European Union will actively support any meeting format conducive to creating a new political impetus. In this context, the Council underlines the importance of the implementation of President Poroshenko¨s peace plan.

The Council notes that the grounds for the imposition of restrictive measures against the Russian Federation remain valid.

“The Council, together with the Commission and the HR/VP, remains engaged in the monitoring and assessment of these measures and remains ready to consider further steps, in light of the evolution of the situation on the ground”.

In Ukraine the Council welcomes the UN-led Preliminary Response Plan for Ukraine covering immediate and recovery phases, and in this context The Council welcomes the European Commission´s decision to allocate and additional EUR 2,5 million to meet the most urgent needs.

Second, EU Foreign Minsters discuss about the situation in Iraq, Gaza, Israel and Libya. There was a great deal of focus too on how to support and deal with the humanitarian crisis  for many communities who had to flee in the face of attacks from ISIS.

EU sets up a humanitarian air bride to northern Iraq as part of our response to the grave challenge of the country. Sweden will take part. 

There was a lot of support from Member States for the former PM Maliki for the way in which, in a very statesmanlike way, he decided to move away from his position and to enable the Prime Minister designate to be put forward and for now this process to more forward to find a political solution.

There was a very strong and solid discussion in the Council on all of these issues and for the EU to play a strong role, particularly, to ensure support to the people of Gaza, and that the security of Israel is assured.

  • All these issues will all be returned to when the Council meet for the informal Foreign Affairs Council in Milan shortly.

A huge amount of diplomatic efforts has been expended by EU and its Foreign Ministers, in trying  to deliver a lasting political solution to the Russian-Ukraine conflict. The recent establishment of EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform (EUAM) further demonstrates the commitment of the EU to assist the Ukrainian Government in its security reform efforts.

Not surprisingly, a large number of European colleagues are deeply concerned about the situation in the East of Ukraine. According to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, at the Council meeting today Frans Timmermans, the Netherlands Foreign Minister, inform the Council about his visits, the work that has been done in the wake of the downing of the Malaysian Airliner and the support that EU want to give to the Netherlands and to all those who lost people as they now go through the painstaking work of identifying the bodies of people, and the EU continue to give them support in doing that.

And inevitably to call upon Russia to engage with the international community to bring this crisis to an end, to ensure the territorial integrity of Ukraine and a future for the Ukrainian people in their own country and to work with the international community to achieve that.

You will see in the Council conclusions on Ukraine 15 August 2014 all that Foreign Affairs Council have agreed to.

Here Remarks by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt -Live ahead to EU Foreign Ministers Meeting on Iraq and Ukraine in Brussels,15th August 2014.

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