Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
Lativa AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
On 5 to 6 September Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins attended an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers (the Gymnich meeting) in Avignon, France. During the meeting, the ministers discussed, in an informal atmosphere, the crisis in Georgia, EU relations with Russia, transatlantic contacts following the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, a revision of the European Security Strategy, and the Middle East peace process.
Concerning the crisis in Georgia and EU relations with Russia, the foreign ministers voiced unanimous support for the previous efforts of the French EU presidency, as well as the visit by Nicolas Sarkozy to Moscow scheduled for 8 September with the aim of achieving full implementation of the six-point plan. The ministers agreed that EU or OSCE observers should replace the Russian forces in the so-called security area established by the Russian army. The EU has to make a decision on sending its civil mission to Georgia as soon as possible. “It is expected that a formal decision on the mandate of an EU civilian mission to Georgia will be made at the next regular meeting of EU foreign ministers on 15 September”, noted the Latvian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Member States also agreed to follow the developments in Ukraine, especially in the light of the upcoming EU-Ukraine summit on 9 September.
The foreign ministers reached an agreement on the need to strengthen relations with the U.S. and to identify issues where it is important to develop closer contacts between the EU and the U.S..
Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, briefed the ministers on what has been achieved so far in reviewing the European Security Strategy. Finally, member state foreign ministers discussed current situation in the Middle East peace process.