Foreign Affairs Council (Foreign and Defence Ministers): 11 December:Written statement - HCWS324

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 07 December 2017
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council (Foreign and Defence Ministers): 11 December

I will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (Foreign and Development Ministers) on 11 December. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative (HRVP) of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting will be held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

The agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is expected to include Iraq, the Middle East; as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo under any other business. There will be a lunch focused on the G5 Sahel Joint Force and a joint FAC and FAC (Development) session on the recent European Union-African Union (AU-EU) Summit. There will be a short FAC (Development) in the afternoon.

The HRVP is expected to open the meeting with introductory remarks on the Eastern Partnership Summit, Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), Libya, Zimbabwe and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Iraq

Ministers will discuss the situation in Iraq, including winning the peace post-Daesh and managing recent tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdish Region. The EEAS will provide an update on the EU Iraq Strategy that is due to be released in January. We will underline the need to continue de-escalating tensions between Baghdad and Erbil, ensuring that all parties focus on the fight against Daesh, preventing its re-emergence and working together to build a more stable, prosperous and inclusive future for all of Iraq’s people, including Iraqi Kurds.

Middle East

Ministers will discuss developments in the Middle East. We continue to be concerned by the humanitarian situation in Yemen and continued restrictions on commercial and humanitarian supplies entering Yemen while understanding Saudi Arabia’s legitimate security concerns. The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have both engaged on this pressing matter. We are also concerned by the recent developments in Yemen which underline the need for a comprehensive political solution. We will encourage European partners to work with us to find solutions.

G5 Sahel Joint Force

Ministers will meet representatives of countries which have stood up the G5 Sahel Joint Force - Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.

EU-Africa

Ministers will discuss the outcomes of the EU-AU Summit and follow-up to the Conclusions the Summit adopted on 30 November. The UK will note the opportunity that Zimbabwe has to embrace a free and democratic future. We have shared, with EU and Five Eyes partners, our expectations for the new Government in order for the international community to re-engage and provide support: free and fair elections, economic and political reform, commitment to human rights and a clear message that Zimbabwe is open to international trade and investment.

FAC (Development)

Development Ministers will discuss next steps on Aid for Trade following the publication of the European Commission’s Communication on ‘Achieving Prosperity through Trade and Investment: Updating the 2007 Joint EU Strategy on Aid for Trade.’ This discussion will focus on how EU cooperation can help developing economies take better advantage of trade opportunities as a means to finance their own way out of poverty.

The FAC is also expected to adopt Conclusions on Thailand and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It hopes to adopt the Council Decision launching PESCO and identify initial PESCO projects.

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