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Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu will attend, on Monday, the meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU Member States (Foreign Affairs Council), which will take place in Luxembourg.

According to Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) press release, European foreign ministers will address the latest developments in the EU-Russia relationship, the EU's role in the Middle East Peace Process, as well as the situation in Mali/the Sahel region, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and Ethiopia. They will also hold debates on developments in Belarus, Latin America and Iraq, including in an informal exchange of views with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein. On the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Council, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell will host an informal breakfast with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya .

The talks on Belarus are aimed at assessing the state of implementation of the decisions of European leaders since the May 24-25 meeting, in response to the continuation of unacceptable repressive actions by the Minsk regime, including the hijacking of the Ryanair civil flight. The ways in which the EU can support civil society, including from the perspective of a democratic future of the country, will also be assessed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that Minister Bogdan Aurescu will refer to the importance of EU actions on the adoption of a comprehensive package of sanctions and the adoption of restrictive measures in relevant economic fields, in order to send a strong political message to the Belarusian authorities and at the same time so as to promote the Comprehensive Plan of Economic Support to democratic Belarus, as a positive EU measure in support of the population, a project proposed in October 2020 by President Klaus Iohannis, together with Polish and Lithuanian counterparts. The Romanian minister will also present, in the exchange of views with the Leader of the Opposition in Belarus, Svetlana Tihanovskaia, included, the actions in support of civil society undertaken and envisaged by Romania.

With regard to Russia, talks are taking place in preparation for the European leaders debate on 24-25 June, in light of the Joint Communication of the European Commission and the European External Action Service on EU-Russia relations.

The MAE mentions that the head of the Romanian diplomacy will reiterate the need for a unitary and strategic approach and the importance of the five EU guiding principles underlying the EU's relations with Russia, on the basis of which the EU's actions in this relationship must continue.

The debate on Iraq and the informal lunch with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein will focus on domestic developments, with a focus on the parliamentary elections to be held this autumn, the state of reforms, the security situation and the regional situation.

According to the MAE, the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs will emphasize the importance of increased EU support for the democratization and stability of Iraq and will express Romania's support for organizing an EU mission aimed at monitoring the elections to ensure their freedom, fairness and inclusiveness. He will highlight the strategic importance of Iraq for the stability of the region and will mention Romania's constant involvement in supporting efforts in this regard.

The discussion on Turkey will take place in preparation for the European leaders' meeting on June 24-25.

"Romania will express its support for the further development of relations with Turkey, as further efforts to maintain a positive offer are needed, within the parameters defined in the March 2021 Declaration of Leaders, with a focus on resuming high-level dialogues, economic cooperation and people-to-people contacts," indicates the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As regards the Middle East Peace Process (OMPP), discussions will focus on the work of the EU Special Representative, Sven Koopmans, as well as on recent domestic developments.

"Romania will voice its support for the mandate of the the EU's Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process and will welcome his efforts aimed at the resumption of the Quartet's activities," the MAE said.

The situation in Mali will be approached from the perspective of disquieting developments in the context of the second coup in nine months. Minister Aurescu will inform about the developments supported by Romania, as the presidency of the Community of Democracies, regarding the situation in this country.

The Foreign Ministers will have a strategic discussion on Latin America and the Caribbean, in the context of the strong impact of the pandemic on this region, as well as the deteriorating situation as a result of political and socio-economic developments.

"Romania will express support both for strengthening the EU's commitment to the region, in accordance with the decisions of the Foreign Affairs Council of October 12, 2020, and for cooperation at regional and multilateral level," the MAE release further mentions. AGERPRES (RO - author: Florentina Peia, editor: Antonia Nita; EN - editor: Simona Iacob)

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