“This is about more than Iran” – Gabriel at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg

02.11.2017 - Article

The monthly meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers on Monday (16 October) focused on the nuclear agreement with Iran (JCPOA). Foreign Minister Gabriel made it clear in Luxembourg that Europe stood by the Agreement.

Grave concern over US policy

The EU member states are gravely concerned about the decision by the US President to no longer certify Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the agreement. The EU intends to continue pressing the US Congress to maintain the agreement. Gabriel said it was hoped it would be possible to convince Congress in talks “that the world will not be any safer if we once again drift into a military crisis in Iran and the neighbouring regions.”

The wrong signal

The Foreign Minister said he firmly believed that the termination of the agreement would be carefully followed by North Korea.

If North Korea sees that the only agreement which the world has concluded with a country on the non-development of nuclear weapons is torn up and terminated just a few years later, then that will lead to no-one having any faith in such agreements. North Korea will then develop its nuclear weapons and the unfortunate thing is that others are likely to follow suit. This is about more than Iran. This is about the global issue of how we deal with agreements intended to protect us from the development of nuclear weapons.

The termination of the deal with Iran would make the negotiations with North Korea on nuclear disarmament much more difficult. In reaction to the repeated military provocations by Pyongyang, the Foreign Ministers have decided to tighten the sanctions against North Korea.

Further issues: Turkey and Iraq

The EU’s relations with Turkey were also discussed during the Foreign Affairs Council. Gabriel stated that accession negotiations were at a standstill anyway and that there was not even agreement at present on a possible modernisation of the customs union. “In our view, the negotiations on the customs union cannot be continued until we have re-established sensible relations with Turkey. Naturally, this includes the release of detainees who we believe to be completely innocent.”

The Foreign Ministers also decided on Monday to second up to 35 experts to support the reform of the security sector in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). They will be sent to Baghdad during the coming weeks to support state institutions with the civilian aspects of the fight against terrorism, corruption and political instability. Federal Police Officer Markus Ritter has been appointed to head the Mission.

Find out more:

Website of the Council of the European Union

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