Foreign Affairs Council discusses Iran, Turkey and migration

Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe, at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels

Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe, at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, © consilium.europa.eu

15.07.2019 - Article

At the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe, called for swift action on migration issues, as well as for a united EU stance on Iran and on Turkish drilling activities in the Mediterranean.

The topic of migration headed the agenda, in part because of the renewed discussions on the distribution of refugees rescued from the Mediterranean in recent weeks. Roth called on the EU to send a clear message that the tragic situation in the Mediterranean must end.

    All countries willing to demonstrate solidarity must join forces without delay so that we can achieve a humane solution.

An immediate mechanism is needed to give refugees safety and to ensure that the Mediterranean countries are not left alone. Germany’s suggestion on a temporary stable ad hoc mechanism for disembarking and distributing people rescued at sea is up for discussion, and the German Government is willing to take part in this mechanism.

Iran – EU unanimity and de-escalation

The EU holds particular responsibility as regards the nuclear agreement with Iran. Speaking in Brussels today (15 July), Roth warned that Iran must comply in full with the JCPOA. The EU is concerned about the latest tensions in the region and Iran’s non-compliance with several obligations under the agreement. Roth said this made it all the more important that the EU takes a united stance on this issue and speaks with one voice. The priority for Germany is to uphold the dialogue and to help bring about de-escalation.

EU united on Turkey and Cyprus

Germany is following with concern Turkey’s announcements that it will carry out drilling operations to the southeast of Karpas Peninsula in Cyprus. The EU stands firmly with Cyprus on this issue and regards this drilling as illegal. The Foreign Affairs Council discussed the consequences of Turkey’s actions today. Germany appealed to Turkey to prevent escalation and to refrain from its drilling operations. Disputes must be resolved through dialogue and in accordance with international law. This appeal is also included in today’s Council conclusions, as is a reference to the “serious immediate negative impact” of such actions across the range of EU-Turkey relations. 

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