Foreign Affairs Council: Remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival

23.01.2023 EEAS Press Team

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Good morning, 

Today, as always, we have a busy agenda. 

We will start by the Ukraine war. We will study how to continue supporting Ukraine militarily.

We will discuss about a new tranche of the European Peace Facility (EPF) to provide more funding for Ukraine. And then, we will discuss about the level of military support after the Ramstein meeting – [where], by the way, there were a lot of commitments in Ramstein, a lot of commitments by several Member States, from the point of view of the number of resources engaged. So, we will discuss about the situation in the war.

We will have [Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine] Dmytro Kuleba, who will discuss with us. 

Then we are going to receive – at lunch time – the Palestinian Prime Minister [Mohammad Shtayyeh]. We will discuss how to engage more with the Palestinian Authority, and the situation on the ground, which is certainly very worrisome. [We will discuss] how to work better and more with the Palestinian Authority in these difficult times for them.

The Sahel, the last news are not good. The terrorists [are] spreading to the Gulf of Guinea. Burkina Faso have asked for the French troops to leave. So, Sahel will be also on the agenda. 

And this – with many other things - Ethiopia but, [the] most important, as always, is going to be the war in Ukraine.  



Q. How about the terrorists in Iraq. Over the past several months there were so many Da’esh activity throughout this region. They have been attacking cities, bridges, so many people died. Does it concern you? 

Certainly, it [concerns] me, but I want to explain [to] you what is on the agenda of the [Foreign Affairs] Council today. 

Q. Are new sanctions against Iran on the agenda today? 

Yes, it is going to be discussed. 

Q. The European Parliament asked you, and the European Union, to put the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the terrorists list. On the other side, your Iranian counterpart has said that, if this is the case, Iran will withdraw from the JCPOA. What is your reaction to this? 

Well, look. There are many interesting opinions about that. But it is something that cannot be decided without a Court. A Court decision [is needed] first. You cannot say: “I consider you a terrorist because I do not like you”. It has to be [done] when a Court of one Member States issues a legal statement, a concrete condemnation. And then we work at the European level, but it has to be first a Court decision. 

Q. I want to ask you about your visit in Georgia, because we have information that you are planning to arrive in Georgia. When will this visit be?

Well, it is not on the agenda, but we will discuss about the situation in the Caucasus. 

Q. Can you tell me when you will discuss about Da’esh activities? 

Well, I can tell you: today, it is not on the agenda. 

Q. But when? 

I do not know. 

Q. For the situation in Iran, can you tell us what can still be done from the inside? 

[On] Iran, we are going to discuss new personal sanctions in according with the legal framework on human rights. But, as [per the denomination of] a terrorist organisation for the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guard, I repeat, it has to be first a condemnation [by] a Court in one Member State. 

Q. Germany does not want to deliver tanks [to Ukraine], but they agreed to actually grant other Member States permission to deliver German tanks. What do you think about this? 

Well, in Ramstein, it was a very good result from the point of view of the number of arms that we – well, they, the different Member States – decided to provide to Ukraine. Do not dismiss the result of Ramstein: a lot of good decisions have been taken. And then each Member State decides at the national level what they want to do. But Germany has engaged a lot with a big amount of resources.  

About this issue of the tanks, this is not the only thing that has to be discussed. Many other contributions from Member States [towards] the military support of Ukraine have been taken. 

Q. But the tanks seem to be crucial for President [of Ukraine, Volodymyr] Zelenskyy. 

Yes, President Zelenskyy is asking for it [the tanks]. Different Member States have different opinions. We will discuss about it today.

Q. Can you explain yourself the German reluctance when it comes to the delivery of weapons? 

Look, it is not my role to do that. I said several times that from my personal opinion, I think this kind of arms should be provided to the Ukrainian army. But it is a Member States’ decision, and we are here to discuss about it.

Q. Are you positive there is going to be consensus about another tranche of funds for the European Peace Facility (EPF)? 

I hope we will reach a political consensus. Today, no formal decision will be taken, but I hope that a political consensus will be reached. But I do not know. 

Thank you.  

Link to the video: 

Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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