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State Secretary Žbogar attends EU Council meeting

State Secretary Samuel Žbogar took part in a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, with Ministers and State Secretaries discussing the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the situation in the Horn of Africa. They also met with Western Balkans’ Foreign Ministers.

In the discussion on the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Ministers explored the possibilities for further assistance to Ukraine and EU support for the country and its people. Restrictive measures were mentioned.

State Secretary Žbogar underlined Slovenia's unwavering support for Ukraine. He recalled Slovenia's commitment to ensuring accountability, stressing the need for dialogue with global partners suffering the consequences of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. It is imperative to elevate dialogue and respond to the concerns and needs of partners, including by making use of the European Peace Facility to address common security issues.

As to the Horn of Africa, Ministers welcomed the agreement on a one-week ceasefire in Sudan and called for its implementation. They addressed the humanitarian needs in the region, in particular the situation in Sudan, as there is a risk of a spillover effect of instability regionally. The vital role of the African Union and regional organisations as regards the security and stability efforts was underlined. The EU's further engagement with countries in the region was highlighted, including the implementation of the Council conclusions on Ethiopia and the Joint Somalia-EU Joint Operational Roadmap.

The Ministers met with the Western Balkans’ Foreign Ministers for an informal working lunch and discussed the implementation of commitments by the EU and the Western Balkan countries, which will pave the way for a common future in the European Union. The Ministers also sought common solutions to build the resilience of the EU and the countries in the region in the field of security policies, hybrid threats and information manipulation. They underlined the importance of economic security for a resilient society.

State Secretary Žbogar pointed to the need for dialogue with the countries in the region that are looking towards the EU, stressing the importance of implementing the commitments and agreements made, in particular the Ohrid Agreement, and of reforms. The region should focus on young people who need a positive perspective. In addition, migration flows need to be addressed in an appropriate manner. Slovenia supports the Western Balkan countries, including the launch of the Western Balkans Cyber Capacity Centre in Montenegro, set up by Slovenia and France.

State Secretary Žbogar also presented Slovenia's candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council and the upcoming elections on 6 June 2023.

Council conclusions were adopted on addressing the humanitarian funding gap and cyber defence, as well as new commitments on the civilian aspects of the Common Security and Defence Policy.