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Minister Logar attending the EU Foreign Affairs Council

Today, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar took part in the regular meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in Brussels. The ministers focused their discussions on EU-Russia relations and the situation in Hong Kong. The Council also held a video conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on future cooperation with the new US administration regarding the common foreign and security policy.

In the introductory part, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell brought to the fore the situations in Myanmar, Belarus and Iran, and the G5 Sahel Summit. The Finnish Foreign Minister, who visited Ethiopia and Sudan on behalf of the High Representative, presented his report on the situation in the region, while the Swedish Foreign minister briefed the Council on her visit to Moscow as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.

Following the visit of the High Representative to Moscow in early February, the ministers discussed EU-Russia relations and the human rights situation in the wake of the sentence handed down to the Russian opposition activist Navalny and the detention of his supporters. The ministers advocated for bolstering support for civil society and people-to-people contacts, reaching a political agreement to impose restrictive measures under the horizontal EU global human rights regime.

Minister Logar stressed that the EU must continue its concerted approach in relation to Russia and consistently implement the five principles applying to the cooperation between the EU and the Russian Federation. He also underlined the importance of keeping communication channels open and maintaining the dialogue with Russia in all fields of common interest, while emphasising the need for strategic foresight as regards future EU-Russia relations.

The ministers then exchanged views on the latest political developments in Hong Kong as a result of the implementation of security legislation, and addressed the impact of the deteriorating situation on the relations between the EU and China, discussing the possibilities of proposing additional measures.

Slovenia is concerned about the numerous political attacks on the Hong Kong judiciary power which have occurred lately, and reiterates that an independent judiciary is key to stability in Hong Kong as a financial centre, and plays the central role in implementing the “one country, two systems” principle.

During the first video conference meeting with new US Secretary of State Blinken, Minister Logar stressed the vital nature of responding to the current global challenges through close transatlantic cooperation, strengthening cyber security and resilience, including in view of the Slovenian EU Council Presidency priorities, and the importance of cooperation in the Western Balkans.

The Council adopted conclusions on 1) Myanmar, 2) human-rights-based post COVID-19 recovery, and 3) EU priorities in UN human rights fora in 2021.

Prior to the FAC meeting, Minister Logar attended a dinner with other ministers and a representative of the Russian opposition and Navalny's close aide Leonid Volkov, as well as an informal ministerial breakfast with International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. He also held bilateral talks with the Hungarian Foreign Minister on the margins of the FAC meeting.