SPAIN. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, has taken part in a meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers held on 14th August by video-conference, called by the High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell. This call for a meeting was in response to the request from some Member States because of increased tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and to the latest events following the presidential elections in Belarus.
The efforts being made by High Representative and Vice-President Borrell, following the mandate approved at July’s Foreign Affairs Council, are more necessary now than ever to defuse the current crisis and relax tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. The minister expressed Spain’s solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and positively assessed the efforts of High Representative Borrell to foster dialogue between the parties and de-escalate the situation.
Spain is firmly committed to trying to generate a slightly favourable atmosphere so that this dialogue can unfold between the parties, as could be seen by the minister’s trip to Turkey and Greece on 27 and 28 July. To this end, Spain has also backed the fine efforts shown by Germany. It is essential to avoid unilateral actions that endanger the chance of negotiations being held.
The second matter addressed was the situation in Belarus, where the result of the recent presidential elections has led to a wave of protests in the country. The minister stressed the need for the violence to cease, to bring an end to arbitrary arrests and to strengthen dialogue with civil society in the country – an important member of the EU’s Eastern Partnership. The minister agreed to the European consensus to identify certain restrictive measures to foster a negotiated solution to the conflict.
The meeting was also used to evaluate the situation in the Lebanon and in Venezuela. In an extremely delicate situation following the explosion on 4 August, Spain, as the President of the Government remarked during his participation by video-conference at the International Conference on Assistance and Support to Beirut and the Lebanese People on 9 August, is fully committed to the Lebanese people and is willing to help implement the necessary reforms facing the country. As regards Venezuela, the High Representative reported on recent efforts with a view to the parliamentary elections scheduled to be held in December.
Spain acknowledges that it is necessary to ensure guarantees on participation and value for the election rules to foster a democratic process that will lead to a result that can be deemed to be appropriate.