The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, participated in the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union, which was held on 15 June 2020 by videoconference.
Transatlantic relations were the main item on the agenda of this Council meeting. The EU Foreign Ministers had an in-depth discussion with their US counterpart, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the cooperation between the EU and the US on a wide range of topics on the international agenda.
The discussion thus provided an opportunity to discuss the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, including disinformation, relations with China, the Middle East Peace Process, relations with the Eastern Partnership countries as well as multilateral cooperation in the context of the many current challenges.
In his remarks, Jean Asselborn highlighted the importance of the transatlantic bond and stressed that "it is in our joint interest to strengthen democracy, human rights, peace and security, and the rule of law in the world.”
With this in mind, Luxembourg's foreign policy chief focused on the Middle East peace process, which is marked by heightened tensions as the new Israeli government is considering annexing a strategic part of the occupied West Bank.
"We must firmly oppose any annexation. This would be a flagrant violation of international law," Jean Asselborn said, adding: "An annexation would be contrary to the security interests of the whole region, including Israel. Now is the time for urgent concerted action to preserve the prospect of peace. The United States has a decisive role to play in this context."
"I hope that we can work together to encourage the resumption of peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians in order to achieve the two-State solution," Minister Asselborn concluded.
Unfortunately, the US Secretary of State did not address the question of the risks that a decision by the Israeli government to annex parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory would entail.
Finally, with regard to the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, Jean Asselborn took the opportunity to express Luxembourg's solidarity with Cyprus and Greece in the face of the illegal activities carried out by Turkey in the region.
After the discussion with the US Secretary of State, the Council concluded its session on current affairs. Ministers mentioned, in particular, the forthcoming Sudan Partnership conference and the worrying developments in the Sahel region and Libya. The Ministers finally agreed to return to meeting in person for the next Foreign Affairs Council, scheduled for 13 July 2020 in Brussels.
Press release by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs