Malta closely following developments in Libya

Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella in Brussels discussing recent developments in Syria, Iraq, the threat of ISIL/Da'ish, Libya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, as well as the Ebola crisis

At the request of Malta, Italy and Spain, a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels discussed the situation in Libya and the ongoing efforts of the United Nations Special Representative to Libya, Bernardino Leon, in moving the opposing camps towards a dialogue and the establishment of an unconditional ceasefire.

Leon, who participated in the discussion via video link, briefed Foreign Affairs Ministers on the preparations of the UN-sponsored talks scheduled for Wednesday. Addressing the Council Meeting, Maltese Minister George Vella expressed the hope that in spite of the many negative indicators the talks will take place as scheduled and lead to a monitored ceasefire and further dialogue.

Vella also discussed the undesirable consequences were the talks fail to take place.
Following an informal session held the day before, with United Nations Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, Ministers expressed their full support for his efforts to achieve a strategic de-escalation of violence as a basis for a broader sustainable political process.

Ministers also discussed the grave humanitarian situation and urged all parties to comply with international humanitarian law as regards protection and access to humanitarian aid for all people in need.

 Concerning Iraq, Ministers acknowledged the recent measures of the Iraqi governing towards bridging the sectarian divide while expressing serious concern regarding the humanitarian situation. The Council also held an exchange of views on elements for a possible EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the ISIL/Da'ish threat.

The Council reiterated its unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)'s EU's perspective and welcomed the recent visit of High Representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn to Sarajevo and agreed on a renewed EU approach aimed at giving impetus to the country's political leaders to return to an EU path.
Ministers briefly discussed Ukraine and were informed on the main elements to be conveyed during the first EU-Ukraine Association Council to be held on the same day. 

Vella also attended a meeting of the Friends of Ukraine during which he suggested that Member States should help Ukraine by sending technical experts to help out with its reform agenda in specific areas.
Foreign Ministers briefly touched upon the Ebola crisis in West Africa, in follow-up to the substantial discussion that took place at the Development Segment of the Foreign Affairs Council, which took place on 12 December.

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