Video conference of Foreign Affairs Ministers: Remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell at the press conference
May 18, 2020
Today [16 May], we have been discussing the situation in the Southern Neighbourhood and the wider Middle East in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and on [the Middle East Peace Process] and the formation of the new Israeli government.
Apart from discussing these points, I have also informed the Ministers about the preparations for the fourth Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region. The Ministerial event will take place on 30 June, in a virtual format. This conference will be an opportunity to come with ambitious pledges and to express support for a credible political solution to the Syrian conflict mediated by the United Nations.
We had a productive discussion on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East and North Africa. We are very much concerned about the socio-economic fallout of the pandemic, which adds to the existing challenges faced by some countries, such as protracted conflicts and refugee crises. We agreed that this crisis is an opportunity to reflect on our relations with the region in the medium and long term.
We also had a discussion on the Middle East Peace Process. The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a priority and it is one of the strategic interests of the European Union. We continue being ready to participate on it.
We are on the eve of the formation of a new government in Israel and we look forward to working comprehensively and constructively with the new government once it will be in office, which we expect to happen on Sunday.
We are convinced that we need to work towards bringing a solution to the Palestinian issue and we reaffirm our position in support of a negotiated Two-State solution. For this to be possible, unilateral actions from either side should be avoided and, for sure, international law should be upheld.
We must work to discourage any possible initiative towards annexation. This will require reaching out, by all of us, to Israel, US, Palestinians and Arab partners, using all channels that the EU and the Member States have. Our discussions on this complex topic will continue, we will not advance events. (..)