The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will take place in Brussels on 11 November. It will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini.
The FAC will discuss current affairs, Afghanistan and Iran. There will also be a ministerial lunch with Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdok.
HRVP Mogherini will raise Venezuela. She will reflect on two international meetings held in Brussels in October. First, the international contact group meeting held on 28 October. Secondly, the international solidarity conference on the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis which took place on 28-29 October.
HRVP Mogherini will brief Ministers on the follow-up to the October FAC and European Council conclusions on Turkey’s actions in north-east Syria and Turkish hydrocarbons exploration activity. We expect the Council to adopt a framework for a sanctions regime on the latter.
HRVP Mogherini will also provide an update on the conflict in Libya and preparations for the leader-level conference which Chancellor Merkel will host in Berlin later this year.
Due to time constraints, the discussion on Afghanistan at the October FAC was postponed to November. Ahead of the publication of the recent presidential election results, Ministers will focus on the political situation in Afghanistan. They will review prospects for peace, in light of recent Afghan and US-led peace efforts. The UK will underline the importance of completing the electoral process in an impartial, efficient and transparent manner, and highlight the importance of momentum in the peace process.
Ministers will discuss the EU’s approach to Iran and Gulf regional security. Ministers will focus in particular on the importance of preserving the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPoA) and the need for a diplomatic solution to de-escalate tensions in the region. Along with our French and German partners, the UK will highlight the importance of Iran returning to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPoA. All parties need to engage in comprehensive negotiations without prejudice to the JCPoA itself—to address Iran’s nuclear activities after 2025 as well as regional security.
Ministerial lunch with Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdok
Ministers will discuss recent progress in Sudan with Prime Minister Hamdok. The UK will continue to urge the EU to be ambitious in the level of support they provide to Sudan throughout the political transition. This should be proportionate to needs and include assistance focused on economic and social stability, the peace process, human rights, and democracy and governance.
The Council is expected to adopt a number of measures, including: a framework sanctions regime in response to Turkish hydrocarbon explorations around Cyprus; the annual review of the Venezuela sanctions regime; and authorisation to open negotiations with Somalia on the status of the EU’s training mission for the Somali security forces.