As part of the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action agreed by Iran and the E3/EU+3, which entered into force today, the Council suspended certain EU restrictive measures against Iran for a period of six months. By putting the sanctions relief in place, the EU has implemented its part of the first step towards a comprehensive solution to address concerns about the Iranian nuclear programme. "We aim to start negotiations about a comprehensive solution with Iran in February," said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton. The suspension took effect today.
See press release, factsheet as well as statement by the EU High Representative.
Central African Republic
The Council is deeply concerned by the extreme insecurity and instability in the Central African Republic (CAR). It commended the rapid deployment by the African Union of the International Support Mission in the CAR (MISCA) and the support given to it by France's Operation Sangaris. "We've been fully mobilized since the beginning of the crisis to support the efforts of our African partners," Catherine Ashton said after the Council.
So as to step up the European involvement in the CAR, the Council gave political approval for a possible EU military operation and approved the related crisis management concept. The operation could contribute to providing a safe and secure environment in the Bangui area, with a view to handing over to the African Union, taking into account UN Security Council resolution 2127. "We'll move forward with operational planning, under our fast track procedures," said the High Representative.
A donors conference organized today by the EU and the UN collected € 366 million in pledges for humanitarian aid to the Central African Republic.
See Council conclusions and factsheet.
Ministers discussed the crisis in Syria and fully supported the peace conference on Syria on 22 January. The Geneva conference should be the first step in a process that will lead to a political solution to the conflict. The Council reiterated that the only solution to the conflict is a genuine political transition, based on the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, and preserving the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.
See Council conclusions.