The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, attended the meeting of the "Foreign Affairs" Council of the EU, which took place on 20 January 2023 in Brussels.
With the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaching, ministers held an in-depth discussion on the European Union's assistance to Ukraine, in particular military support. In this context, Minister Asselborn underlined the importance of "maintaining a united front with our partners and reaffirming our unwavering support for Ukraine".
For Ukraine to continue to defend itself effectively against Russian aggression, especially in the face of a possible new Russian offensive, additional military assistance is essential. In this context, Luxembourg welcomes the announcements of military assistance, including tanks and other heavy equipment, made by several Member States since the beginning of the year. Luxembourg will of course continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine within the limits of its possibilities.
Minister Asselborn also welcomed the establishment of the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression in The Hague, which will collect and collate evidence for future trials. "This is an important first step towards the creation of a special international tribunal for the crime of aggression, to be set up under an agreement between Ukraine and the United Nations. As a member of the core group for the establishment of such a Special Tribunal, Luxembourg will continue its commitment to deny any impunity to Russian political and military leaders."
Regarding the work on the 10th sanctions package, the Minister stressed the need to maintain pressure on Russia to further reduce its capacity to continue this war.
The ministers then held an informal exchange of views with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, Nicu Popescu, which provided an opportunity for EU Ministers to express their full support for Moldova, a country that has embarked on a path of profound transformation, but faces many challenges, which have become even more important following the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Minister Asselborn recalled Luxembourg's long-standing support for Moldova on its European path.
The situation in Afghanistan and issues related to climate and energy diplomacy were also on the agenda. Regarding Afghanistan, ministers were briefed by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed via the VTC on the latest developments in the country, in particular the Taliban's actions to undermine human rights, especially the rights of women and girls.
On climate diplomacy, Luxembourg underlines the importance of aligning our diplomatic ambitions with the EU's internal climate and energy ambitions.
The meeting concluded with a discussion on topical issues, including recent developments in Iran. Luxembourg welcomes the adoption of the fifth package of sanctions against 32 individuals and two entities responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran. This is an important message from the European Union to the Iranian regime: as long as the repression continues, we will not relent. Luxembourg will continue to support any strong measures against Iran, taken in a unified manner at EU level.
Minister Asselborn took advantage of the discussion on topical issues to report to his colleagues on the EU-Cabo Verde ministerial meeting that he had co-chaired, in representation of HRVP Borrell, in Praia on 31 January 2023. He called on the institutions and the Member States to provide firm support for Cabo Verde, a constant partner of the European Union in West Africa, which is suffering from a triple crisis: several years of drought, the effects of the pandemic and now rising food prices.
Press release by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs