Foreign Affairs Council - 15 October 2018:Written statement - HCWS990

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 11 October 2018
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council - 15 October 2018

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 15 October. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini.

The FAC will discuss current affairs, external aspects of migration, Libya, the Central African Republic and Venezuela.

Foreign Affairs Council

Ministers will adopt the new EU chemical weapons sanctions regime at the FAC. We look forward to early progress on the listing of relevant individuals and entities in due course. This is the first step towards bolstering the EU’s capabilities to address hybrid threats and the first in a package of sanctions regimes announced on 5 September. The Prime Minister set out the UK’s intentions to pursue new EU sanctions regimes related to chemical weapons, human rights, and cyber, in response to events in Salisbury and a wider pattern of malign activity. The Council will be an opportunity for the UK to call for the speedy adoption of a regime to address malicious cyber-attacks. We are working closely with EU partners to deliver on these priorities.

External aspects of migration

The Council will continue the discussions on migration initiated at the June European Council. This will include measures relating to Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean, Regional Disembarkation Platforms and Controlled Centres. The UK will seek to ensure that these discussions are placed within the context of a comprehensive or whole of route approach to tackling irregular migration, where appropriate attention is paid to upstream activity and the fight against Organised Immigration Crime (OIC).

Libya

Ministers will discuss developments in Libya following the recent deterioration in the security situation that prompted a P5, EU, African Union (AU), Arab League Ministerial meeting during UNGA that was chaired by the French Foreign Minister Le Drian. The recent clashes are the most serious outbreak of violence in Tripoli since 2017 and have delayed progress on the constitutional and legal framework needed to enable elections to take place. Given the recent violence, discussions are likely to focus on the security challenges, and the resulting impact on the UN-led political process. We will underline the importance of the international community reaffirming its support to UN Secretary General’s Special Representative, (SRSG) Salamé and the UN-led political process, and emphasise that elections must be preceded by the necessary political, security and technical preparations.

Central African Republic

Ministers will discuss the security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and ongoing efforts to support the CAR government achieve peace and stability. We will continue to emphasise the need for a coordinated and inclusive approach by all international partners. The AU facilitated peace process remains vital to ending the violence in CAR.

Venezuela

The Council will discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Venezuela and the impact of Venezuelan migration on neighbouring countries and the wider region. The FAC will also consider what further actions might be possible to complement existing EU assistance. The FAC may also discuss a possible EU response when President Maduro begins his next term of office in January 2019; the EU stated that the presidential elections of May 2018 lacked any credibility and called for the holding of fresh presidential elections.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt Conclusions on Connecting Asia and Europe, the Central African Republic as well as approve a new regime on Chemical Weapons.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS959

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