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18 October 2016
Foreign affairs and international relations
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EU Foreign Affairs Council on Syria and migration

Luxembourg (17 October 2016) – Today, EU foreign ministers met in Luxembourg to discuss the worsening situation in Syria, longer-term measures to cope with migration and the implementation of the EU global strategy on foreign and security policy. At the regular monthly meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), Slovakia was represented by the Slovak Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Miroslav Lajčák.

‘It is obvious that the situation in Syria is extremely dramatic, and therefore we addressed as a matter of priority how to stop the immense suffering of the local population.’

Miroslav Lajčák

‘It is obvious that the situation in Syria is extremely dramatic, and therefore we addressed as a matter of priority how to stop the immense suffering of the local population,’ said Mr Lajčák after the meeting. During a working lunch, ministers were given an assessment of the situation by the UN Special Representative for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and dealt with the impact of recent developments on EU policy and possibilities for further EU support.

‘We discussed what the EU can do in this situation in Syria. The priority is to stop the bombing and siege of Aleppo, delivery of humanitarian assistance and, of course, a restoration of the political process, since the Syria issue has no other solution than a political one,’ emphasised Mr Lajčák.

Ministers also discussed how to stop the dramatic escalation of violence. ‘We expect from all actors in the developments in Syria that they will start behaving responsibly. If the EU sees that some of the local and regional actors are not interested in respecting civilised rules, we will not hesitate to take strong action,’ said Mr Lajčák.

At the FAC meeting in Luxembourg, ministers also discussed the steps to implement the EU global strategy on foreign and security policy and dealt with migration issues ahead of negotiations among the EU heads of state or government at the European Council meeting to be held on Thursday and Friday in Brussels. As a matter of priority, ministers talked about external aspects of migration, especially in the context of building partnerships with particular African countries and innovative instruments for Union engagement to promote stability and development in Africa.

Mr Lajčák's programme in Luxembourg continues on Tuesday 18 October, when he will chair the EU General Affairs Council (GAC).

Video recording of the briefing by Miroslav Lajčák after the FAC meeting

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