Foreign Affairs Council on EU-Africa relations, Central Asia and Venezuela
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar attended the regular meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels headed by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The ministers focused on EU-Africa relations and Central Asia – with a special emphasis on Afghanistan – and Venezuela.
The day began with a debate on relations and cooperation between the EU and African countries and on an effective response to the challenges facing the African continent. The debate was taking place in the run-up to the sixth EU-African Union Summit scheduled for 17–18 February 2022 in Brussels. The ministers focused on peace and security, development aid, health, vaccine distribution and democracy development.
Minister Logar pointed out that Slovenia, as the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, has been devoting particular attention to advancing the partnership between the EU and the African Union as well as to strengthening cooperation in multilateralism, water, cyberspace and culture. Development priorities also include providing assistance to African countries following the pandemic, strengthening societies, and working towards a sustainable recovery.
In the debate on Central Asia, the ministers focused on the important issue of connectivity and on the new geopolitical dynamics in the region, especially in the context of the situation in Afghanistan. They expressed support for the strengthening of the EU’s bilateral, economic and political ties with Central Asian countries.
During lunch, the ministers were joined by Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. They underlined the important role of Qatar in the evacuation of EU citizens from Afghanistan and local staff working with the EU. Qatar continues to provide support as almost 600 people are still listed on the evacuation list. The ministers, including Minister Logar, expressed gratitude to Qatar for the help in the evacuation from Afghanistan and for its role as a mediator in talks with the Taliban. As the discussion proceeded, they were pleased to note that the cooperation between the EU and Qatar and the region is strengthening and, at the same time, called for closer cooperation in addressing pressing global challenges.
The debate on Venezuela centred on the impact of the country’s regional elections held on 21 November. The ministers also discussed the role of the EU Election Observation Mission, the future perspective of negotiations between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, and the impact the elections are expected to have on those negotiations. The EU responded to the request of the opposition to monitor the electoral process in November, deploying an observation mission to the country to provide an independent and impartial assessment of all aspects of the elections and to support a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis. The ministers agreed that it is clear the elections have not moved the country closer to a peaceful and democratic transition. They called for the earliest possible resolution of the crisis through political channels and through an inclusive dialogue, and expressed their support for democratic forces.