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EU foreign ministers advocating Union’s increased engagement to resolve the crisis in Iraq and Libya

Foreign Minister Dr Miro Cerar took part in the Extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, convened by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, due to increased tensions in Iraq and Libya.

The foreign ministers called for settling the situation, restrained response and a strengthened role for the EU in advancing the dialogue between all sides concerned. They underscored the EU's readiness to continue providing assistance to Iraq in its stabilisation and restoration efforts, pointing to the support for Iraq’s unity and territorial integrity. The current crisis distracts attention from setting up the Iraqi government and adopting the necessary reforms. A great deal has already been achieved, but the restoration work is far from completed.  Iraq remains in need of comprehensive assistance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave a briefing on the situation in Iraq and the talks with Iraqi and US counterparts, calling on states to continue participating in the operations to fight against Daesh and in providing training for the Iraqi security and armed forces, as soon as the security situation allows it, and to help stabilise Iraq. He appealed for transatlantic unity, which is vital to successfully combat Daesh and stabilise Iraq and the region.  The ministers underlined that the fight against Daesh remains a priority for both the EU and the international community.

The Union maintains its pledge to preserve and respect the commitments under the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) which constrained the proliferation of nuclear weapons and thus ensured regional stability. The EU calls on Iran and all sides involved to remain committed to the provisions of the agreement.

The Union is also willing to seek lasting solutions for the conflict and to support regional initiatives to de-escalate the tensions. The Foreign Affairs Council upheld the efforts by High Representative Borrell to seek ways to settle the situation in the region, among them encouraging US-Iran dialogue.

“On behalf of Slovenia, I called for the Union’s increased role in seeking dialogue to settle the situation in the Middle East. Slovenia appeals for the respect of Iraqi sovereignty and international law, and condemns the attacks on civilians, foreign units and cultural monuments,” said Minister Cerar. He shared the view that the fight against Daesh must remain a priority of the international community, stressing Slovenia's commitment to remain a partner in this fight and to continue providing training to Iraqi security and defence forces in efforts against Daesh in Iraq.

High Representative Borrell, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya, Ghassan Salame, and EU ministers exchanged views on the recent developments in Libya, stressing the importance of the Union's pro-active role in seeking a solution for dialogue in the country.   The Foreign Affairs Council gave an assurance of its support for the work of Special Representative Salame and outlined the importance of Germany’s efforts to host a conference on Libya in Berlin as soon as possible.

Minister Cerar explained that Slovenia was supportive of initiatives for a more pro-active EU role in Libya: “We urge all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to open dialogue. Slovenia welcomes Germany's efforts to host a conference in Berlin with a view to finding a permanent solution for Libya,” added Minister Cerar.

He extended his condolences to counterparts from countries whose citizens lost their lives in the Ukrainian plane crash in Iran, along with the hope that the investigation into the cause of the crash is conducted in a transparent manner, establishing the true cause of the tragedy.

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