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European Foreign Affairs Council calls upon Syrian government to undertake all efforts to ensure a full cessation of hostilities

Syria, Pixabay

Brussels, April 4, 2017: The European Foreign Affairs Council called upon the Syrian government and its allies to undertake all efforts to ensure a full cessation of hostilities.

The Foreign Affairs Council on Monday convened on the eve of the Brussels Conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region, which will take place April 4 to 5, Xinhua news agency reported.

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During the meeting, the Council adopted European Union (EU) strategy on Syria and called for a full cessation of hostilities, lifting sieges and providing countrywide humanitarian access.

The Council also discussed the situations in Yemen and Libya and welcomed the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mahamed Farmaajo and the formation of a new government in Somalia.

EU ministers exchanged views with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, on cooperation between the two sides. (IANS)

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EU Says Little Progress Made in Brexit Talks With Britain

Brexit talks
British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis left, and European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier participate in a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. voa

he European Union’s Brexit negotiator said Thursday that that little progress was made with the U.K. in a fifth round of talks on the country’s departure from the EU in 2019 and that he cannot yet recommend broadening negotiations to include trade.

Michel Barnier said that despite the “constructive spirit” shown in this week’s negotiations in Brussels, “we haven’t made any great steps forward.” On the question of how much Britain has to pay to settle its financial commitments, he said: “We have reached a state of deadlock, which is disturbing.”

Barnier said he would not be able to recommend to EU leaders meeting next week that “sufficient progress” has been made to broaden the talks to future EU-British relations like trade.

The leaders meet in Brussels on Oct. 19-20, and it had been hoped they would agree to widen the talks.

The EU says this can only happen when there has been progress on the issues of the financial settlement, the rights of citizens affected by Brexit and the status of the Northern Ireland-Ireland border.

But Britain says these issues are closely intertwined with their future relations like trade and must be discussed together.

“I hope the member states will see the progress we have made and take a step forward” next week, British Brexit envoy David Davis told reporters.

“We would like them to give Michel the means to broaden the negotiations. It’s up to them whether they do it. Clearly I think it’s in the interests of the United Kingdom and the European Union that they do,” Davis said.

Barnier said the two sides would work to achieve “sufficient progress” in time for a subsequent meeting of EU leaders in December.

Britain must leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but the negotiations must be completed within about a year to leave time for EU states’ national parliaments to ratify the Brexit agreement.(VOA)


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