Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu on Monday participated in a meeting of the European Union foreign ministers, a Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting in Luxembourg, voicing support for strengthening EU military support for Ukraine and saying that it is important for the European Union to also support Moldova.
The agenda of the meeting included in-depth discussions on countering the effects of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, with the participation by video conference of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as on the relations between the EU and China. At the same time, European officials addressed recent developments in Iran, sending an EU monitoring mission to the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and the challenges generated by climate change.
According to a press statement released by the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE), during the discussions on Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, Aurescu welcomed the participation by video conference of his Ukrainian counterpart and condemned the new attacks launched by Russia on Ukrainian cities/civilian targets, including one on Monday in the centre of Kyiv and in other cities in Ukraine, which aim to test the resilience of Ukrainian society.
He welcomed the adoption by the EU of new measures in support of Ukraine, namely the eighth package of restrictive measures aimed at the Russian Federation, showing openness to strengthening the sanctions by adopting a new package, in cooperation with the G7 member states and other international partners, to put even more pressure on Russia.
Aurescu expressed support for strengthening the EU military backing for Ukraine by adopting the sixth tranche of a financial contribution under the European Peace Facility and by launching an EU military assistance mission (EUMAM) to train the Ukrainian army. He also mentioned that Romania will continue to provide multidimensional support to Ukraine, also mentioning Romania’s efforts to facilitate the export of grain and other Ukrainian products through Romanian ports. Aurescu showed that since the beginning of the crisis, more than 5.2 million tonnes of grain have passed through Romania to third destinations, which represents an important support in the management of the global food crisis.
The Romanian official also mentioned the regional consequences of the escalation of the conflict by Russia and drew attention to the situation of Moldova, whose airspace was violated by three Russian missiles during the recent Russian attack on Ukraine, which is another violation of international law, especially since it is a neutral state, according to the Constitution of Moldova. He mentioned the importance of the European Union supporting Moldova, which is one of the nations most affected by the conflict in Ukraine and the effects of this conflict, especially in terms of an energy crisis. Aurescu mentioned that Romania has already started supplying electricity to Moldova.
Aurescu also mentioned the diplomatic efforts of the EU and its member states to isolate Russia worldwide and to counter the Russian narrative regarding the consequences of the war of aggression at the global level. He pointed out that the recent resolution of the UN General Assembly was adopted with a large majority, and the results of the elections at the International Telecommunication Union Conference, which took place in Bucharest, demonstrated that Russia is increasingly isolated.
The Romanian dignitary voiced support alongside other European foreign ministers for the creation of a special court for the crimes of aggression committed in Ukraine and showed that the best and most solid basis for its establishment must be identified.
He informed the other foreign ministers about his initiative, together with the Czech, Polish and Swedish counterparts to organise, on the sidelines of the next FAC meeting in November, an informal working meeting dedicated to launching a reflection on the future and reform of the Eastern Partnership in the light of the latest developments generated by the war against Ukraine and the decisions taken at the European Council in June to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and the European perspective of Georgia. MAE says that, considering the relevance of the PaE in supporting the Belarusian civil society, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was also invited.
Aurescu welcomed an agreement to launch an EU monitoring mission at the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, by displacing part of the EU monitoring mission staff from Georgia. He showed that he launched the idea of the new monitoring mission in 2021 on a regional tour in the Caucasus, together with his counterparts from Austria and Lithuania, in coordination and with the mandate of the High Representative of the EU, Josep Borrell.
During the discussions regarding the perspective of EU-China relations, held after the start on Sunday of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and in the preparation of the European Council on October 20-21, Aurescu showed that there is a need an increase in the strategic economic resilience of the EU, united action in reporting to China bilaterally and multilaterally, continuing cooperation with the US and other partner states, strengthening ties with countries in Africa and Latin America and implementing the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, and the EU Global Gateway initiative.
Regarding the recent developments in Iran, Aurescu condemned the serious violations of human rights, including the freedom of expression, assembly and peaceful demonstration. He said that Romania supports, in this context, the expansion of the sanctions on Iran, taking into account the existing information regarding Iran’s support of the Russian aggression through the delivery of drones.