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Egypt on EU Foreign Affairs Council main agenda

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EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss Egyptian and Syrian situations in their monthly assembly while Catherine Ashton will present a report on her most recent visit

Official spokesman for the French Foreign ministry, Romaine Nadal, said Saturday that the Foreign Affairs Council will hold a meeting Monday in which recent developments in Egypt will be discussed.

A statement released by the Foreign Affairs Council said that regarding “the Southern neighbourhood, ministers will take stock of the situation in Egypt, as a follow-up to the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council in August, and discuss Syria and Libya”.

A factsheet statement released by the European Union said that Catherine Ashton and Bernadino Leon both “reiterated on various occasions that Egypt needed a fully inclusive transition process, taking in all political groups, to reach free and fair elections and a civilian-led government.”

The factsheet detailing EU-Egyptian relations added that “The EU engaged in talks aiming at bringing the parties together… however, the political polarisation deepened during spring 2013 and following immense nationwide protests against the Freedom and Justice Party rule, President Morsi was forced out of office on 3 July 2013.

“These elements are the necessary pre-conditions for a stable, prosperous and democratic Egypt associated financial Institutions” the statement continued.

The Foreign Affairs Council is part of the European Affairs Council where a meeting is held once a month to discuss municipal and international situations. Each European state sends its foreign minister to be its foreign policy representative.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union Catherine Ashton will be chairing the meeting. Since the 25 January Revolution, Ashton has visited Egypt 12 times.

The meeting on Monday will discuss her most recent visit in which she met political figures including  interim President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy, Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa El-Din and Minister of Defence General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

“During the EU-Egypt Task Force in November 2012, nearly €5 billion were pledged by the EU. Since 2004, EU-Egypt bilateral trade has more than doubled and reached its highest level ever in 2012 (from €11.5 billion in 2004 to €23.8 billion in 2012)” the European Union stated.

In the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 21 September, member states agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt for any equipment which might be used for “internal repression” and to “reassess export licenses for equipment covered by Common Position while also reviewing their security assistance with Egypt”.

EU member states did agree not to suspend assistance to the socio-economic sector and support for civil societies.

Other topics on Monday’s agenda will be the Syrian crisis and participation in the upcoming Geneva II Middle East conference set to start on 23 November, the destruction of chemical weapons and the humanitarian condition within the country.


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