Foreign Affairs Council
Syria, Egypt and Iran on agenda
By Joanna Sopinska | Friday 22 June 2012
The European Union’s relations with Syria, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan will dominate discussions at the forthcoming Foreign Affairs Council, on 25 June in Luxembourg. The ministers will also take stock of the latest developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In view of the further deteriorating situation in Syria, the ministers will decide on toughening sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. According to diplomatic sources, they are expected to add one Syrian official and four Syrian entities to the EU’s sanctions list. According to the same source, the EU is seriously concerned about the further militarisation of the conflict in Syria and regards the six-point Annan peace plan as the best option to resolve the crisis. Ahead of the Council meeting, Syrian opposition groups are expected to hold a meeting over the weekend in Brussels. The source confirmed that the EU is going to facilitate it with the aim of helping the Syrian opposition leaders to unite against al-Assad’s regime.
On Egypt, the ministers will analyse the political situation in the country following the last round of presidential elections, on 16-17 June. While awaiting the publication of the results of the vote, “we are trying to understand the very complex situation” on the ground, said the EU source.
The ministers will also take stock of the EU’s relations with Iran ahead of the launch of an oil embargo, on 1 July. The EU source said that all 27 member states, including Greece, a major importer of Iranian oil, would comply with the sanctions. high Representative Catherine Ashton will brief the ministers on the outcome of the talks on the latest Iranian proposals on its nuclear programme, held on 19 June in Moscow.
On Pakistan, Ashton will inform ministers about her last visit to Islamabad, where she launched a strategic dialogue with the country.