On Monday 18 March 2019, the Foreign Affairs Council held a meeting taking place on the 5th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. The conference focused on four different foreign affairs issues: the current international framework, the external relations with China, the imminent electoral results in the Republic of Moldova and lastly on the Yemenite humanitarian crisis. The entire meeting was chaired by VP/HR Federica Mogherini.
Concerning the case of Yemen, the participating ministers renewed the European shared strategy that in any way possible there can be no military solution to the conflict and that the only way towards resolution is the implementation of the Stockholm agreement in all its parts. They highly stressed the need to maintain the political momentum and propel the opposite parties to urgently fulfil their commitments under the agreement.
The Stockholm agreement was signed by the counterparts on 20 December 2018. Yemen’s Houthi rebels and its internationally recognized government agreed to the four key elements of the deal: the prisoner exchange, the constitution of a demilitarized zone around the Red Sea trade corridor through a series of withdrawals by rival armies, the creation of a political group to discuss the future of the contested city of Taiz and a final obligation for the Houthis and Hadi government to reconvene at the end of the month.
The Council reiterated, also, the EU’s full support for the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and his struggle in forging a lasting and inclusive political solution by following the UN-led framework, a common blueprint renewed on 14 March by VP\HR Federica Mogherini in her official statement at the EU-UN multilateral conference. Moreover, foreign ministers remarked the importance of fully associating Yemenite women to the peace process, as well as the shared concern for the lack of improvement in the urgent humanitarian situation and the illegitimated access for humanitarian aid. The Council reaffirmed that the EU and its Member States would continue their humanitarian assistance efforts and lend political support when necessary.
The Council approved new guidelines in order to give the organisation a new and dynamic tool for the common fight against any form of discrimination. The EU’s commitment was reaffirmed to the purposes and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As a matter of fact, the Council recalled that the actions of the EU on the international scene are led by the democratic principles such as: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the decisions approved by the Foreign Affairs Council. We are profoundly thankful for the EU activism in terms of human rights violations. Hoping that the international framework will turn positively, we call upon all international actors to follow the lead.