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Europe: Joint answers

Foreign Ministers Heiko Maas, Jeremy Hunt and Jean-Yves Le Drian

Foreign Ministers Heiko Maas, Jeremy Hunt and Jean-Yves Le Drian, © Auswärtiges Amt

01.02.2019 - Article

Heiko Maas at the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Bucharest.

The informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers, the so-called “Gymnich meeting”, focused on two pressing international crises. Along with the French and British foreign ministers, Heiko Maas announced the creation of INSTEX, a special purpose vehicle to facilitate legitimate trade with Iran. Also, with the aim of resolving the crisis in Venezuela, Germany will participate in an international contact group to introduce a political process for free and fair elections.

Venezuela: Working together for free elections

Germany is further intensifying its efforts and, since yesterday, has been part of an international contact group working for free and fair elections in Venezuela. Heiko Maas commented as follows: “Courageous people are taking to the streets in Venezuela just now to fight for democracy and against oppression in their country. They have our support.” If Nicolás Maduro was not ready to schedule new elections, Maas went on, then Germany had reserved the right to recognise Juan Guaidó as interim president to hold new elections in Venezuela. The High Representative of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, announced the establishment of the contact group, comprising countries from Europe and Latin America, to bring together all leads to a peaceful, democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela.

Iran: Working together for legitimate trade

On the fringes of the informal meeting of foreign ministers, Heiko Maas, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Jeremy Hunt announced the creation of INSTEX, a special purpose vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate trade with Iran in the framework of the efforts to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Germany, France and the UK specifically aim to preserve the economic provisions of the JCPOA, as long as Iran fully implements its nuclear-related commitments, including full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The focus will be on sectors essential to the Iranian population, such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and food and agricultural goods. Maas and his colleagues intend to pursue the further development of INSTEX with interested European countries and to work together to preserve the nuclear agreement with Iran, the result of lengthy negotiations.

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