site.btaForeign Ministry: Deputy Foreign Minister Shekerletova Takes Part in EU Foreign Affairs Council

Foreign Ministry: Deputy Foreign Minister Shekerletova Takes Part in EU Foreign Affairs Council
Foreign Ministry: Deputy Foreign Minister Shekerletova Takes Part in EU Foreign Affairs Council
Deputy Foreign Minister Elena Shekerletova in Brussels (BTA Photo)

Deputy Foreign Minister Elena Shekerletova on Monday participated in the regular monthly meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. The EU foreign ministers discussed the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine, the situation in the Middle East and the situation in the Sahel region. A ministerial meeting of the Eastern Partnership was also held, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Monday.

The Council meeting started with an informal exchange of views with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. He briefed his counterparts on the current situation in his country in the wake of Russia's ongoing aggression and attacks by Russian armed forces on Ukraine's civilian infrastructure. "Bulgaria underlines the importance of continued comprehensive EU support for Ukraine as long as necessary and for Ukraine's progress on the European path. Our country supports President Zelenskyy's Peace Formula and contributes to diplomatic efforts to promote it globally," Shekerletova said. In her speech on the subject, she also referred to the need to strengthen Ukraine's energy sector, especially during the winter season, and to the continuation of EU support for the country's defence, including through the establishment of a dedicated Ukraine Assistance Fund under the European Peace Facility. She also noted with concern the deteriorating security situation in the Black Sea region. Bulgaria supports European Commission's recommendation to start EU membership negotiations with Ukraine on its own merits, Shekerletova said, noting Kyiv's important progress on key reforms.

The EU foreign ministers also discussed the current situation in the Middle East in the wake of terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas and other terrorist organisations. They discussed the humanitarian situation in Gaza and ensuring continued humanitarian access to the civilian population. "Bulgaria strongly condemns the taking of hostages by Hamas and calls for their immediate and unconditional release. The protection of civilians is a primary concern. Our country continues to provide assistance to the Palestinian population. The fight against terrorism remains a shared objective of the international community," Shekerletova stressed.

The Council also discussed the development of a unified and adapted common EU approach towards the Sahel region.

After the meeting, the EU foreign ministers met with their counterparts from the Eastern Partnership countries - Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, with Belarus' place left empty again due to Lukashenko's repressive regime and his complicity in the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Bulgaria expressed support for deepening and strengthening EU cooperation with Eastern Neighbourhood partners in all spheres, highlighting the importance of developing transport and energy connectivity and strengthening economic ties, which will contribute to the security and prosperity of the region. Emphasis was also placed on strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights as key priorities.

/RY/

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By 01:16 on 18.04.2024 Today`s news

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