The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, attended the meeting of the "Foreign Affairs" Council of the EU, which took place on 23 January 2023 in Brussels.
Following a videoconference intervention by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, EU foreign ministers held an in-depth discussion on issues related to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, including EU military support to Ukraine and the question of justice and criminal accountability.
In the face of continued Russian aggression, Minister Asselborn recalled the importance for the EU and its Member States to remain united in their support for Ukraine. In this context, he welcomed the release of the 7th tranche of €500 million under the European Peace Facility (EPF) and €45 million to equip Ukrainian soldiers trained under the EUMAM Ukraine mission.
In the same vein, he also welcomed the individual measures announced in recent weeks by a number of partners to provide Ukraine with heavy weapons. For its part, Luxembourg will continue to support Ukraine in 2023 within the limits of its possibilities.
"The next EU-Ukraine summit and the peace summit will allow us to reiterate our unwavering support for Ukraine and to commit ourselves alongside Ukraine to help shape the ten-point peace plan presented by the Ukrainian President," said Jean Asselborn, before pointing out that Luxembourg is particularly attached to point 7 of this peace plan: "The peace process cannot succeed without the restoration of justice. We must continue our efforts to ensure that Russia's key political and military leaders are held accountable. Luxembourg supports the creation of a special tribunal for the crime of aggression, which is the only way to bring those most responsible for Russian aggression to justice in due course".
The Ministers then held an informal exchange of views with Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki on bilateral relations, the situation in the region and the Middle East Peace Process. Minister Asselborn welcomed this dialogue and confirmed Luxembourg's support for the establishment of a regular high-level political dialogue between the EU and the Palestinian Authority, as well as for the opening of negotiations on partnership priorities and a full association agreement.
The head of Luxembourg's diplomacy then stressed that the EU must speak out even more clearly against the serious violations of international law announced by the Israeli government, such as the forced transfer of more than 1,000 Palestinians from the Masafer Zatta area or the demolition of primary schools. Finally, Jean Asselborn also stressed the need to hold elections in Palestine, while recalling the importance of respecting freedom of expression and protecting human rights.
In the afternoon, the ministers discussed the latest developments in the countries of the Sahel and the West African coast. Luxembourg is following with great concern the alarming situation in the Sahel, which is facing numerous challenges such as terrorism, unconstitutional changes of government or the presence of third parties such as the Russian mercenary company Wagner.
The meeting concluded with a discussion on topical issues, including recent developments in Montenegro, Iran, Armenia and Ethiopia. With regard to Iran, Luxembourg welcomes the adoption of the 4th package of sanctions against 37 individuals and entities responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran.
In the margins of the Council, Minister Asselborn also met his Belgian and Dutch counterparts, Hadja Lahbib and Wopke Hoekstra, to informally mark the start of the Dutch Presidency of the Benelux Union and to exchange views on current issues.
Press release by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs