3183rd Foreign Affairs Council meeting (provisional version)
The Council discussed developments in the EU's Southern neighbourhood, focusing on Syria and Libya. It strongly condemned the ever increasing use of force by the Syrian regime. Once more, the Council urged the Syrian regime to end the killing of civilians immediately, withdraw the Syrian army from besieged towns and cities and to allow for a peaceful transition. In response to the escalating violence, the Council strengthened the enforcement of the EU arms embargo against Syria and reinforced sanctions against the Syrian regime.
Regarding Libya the Council welcomed the pluralistic and overall peaceful conduct of the elections for the National General Congress on 7 July. It warmly congratulated the Libyan people for this significant milestone in the ongoing transition and expressed its belief that these historic elections should lay the foundation for the future democratic development of Libya. The Council also reiterated the EU's readiness to provide further assistance to Libya, in particular in the areas of security and border management.
The Council took stock of the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, one year after the independence of South Sudan. It reiterated its strong support for the full and unconditional implementation of the African Union roadmap for resolving the post-secession conflicts between the two states. This would open up a much more positive perspective for both countries.
The Council expressed its alarm about the at the deteriorating situation in Mali and its adverse impact on regional and international peace and stability. It invited the High Representative and the Commission to make proposals with a view to a gradual return to development cooperation and to providing support for the possible deployment of a well-prepared ECOWAS stabilisation force in Mali, under the mandate of the US Security Council and in concertation with a government of national unity and the African Union.
The Council welcomed the progress achieved on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) since the Council conclusions of 1 December 2011, in particular the imminent launch of three new CSDP missions as well as the continued planning for EU support to border security in Libya. It also underlined the concrete impact of CSDP missions and operations on the ground.
Finally the Council was encouraged by the progress in implementing the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe. It agreed that these steps justify the immediate suspension of the measures applied under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. This will allow the EU to work directly with the Government of National Unity to develop new assistance programmes.