At the Foreign Affairs Council yesterday in Luxembourg, Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser and colleagues also discussed, besides the Iran nuclear deal, the situation on the Korean peninsula, EU-Turkey relations and human rights issues.
Speaking on North Korea, the foreign ministers emphasised that disregard for international obligations and destabilising world peace was unacceptable. “With its provocative behavior, North Korea leaves the European Union no choice but to establish additional sanctions,” said Minister Mikser. The Foreign Affairs Council established new sweeping sanctions on North Korea, including a prohibition on EU investment into North Korea, additional travel restrictions and a ban on the sale of refined petroleum products to North Korea. “The international community cannot remain merely an onlooker in the current situation. But we have to remember that above all, the solutions must be peaceful,” said Minister Mikser.
In the discussion on Turkey, the foreign ministers noted that the situation with human rights, rule of law, democracy and freedom of the press and media was concerning. “However, we must not cut off dialogue with Turkey – we must continue communication to support democratic reforms,“ said Minister Mikser. “Turkey is an important strategic partner for the European Union and we have common interests in a number of fields.” Mikser mentioned Turkey’s role in efforts to stem the migration crisis, the fight against terrorism and ensuring stability in the region.
The ministers also discussed EU human rights policy, with Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis also taking part. “Today the human rights situation is marked by less security than in the past, and because of that third countries have placed great expectations on the EU when it comes to promoting and protecting human rights,” said Minister Mikser. “The EU’s unity in the international arena is extremely important for being more visible and influential on human rights policy.”
More information on the measures imposed on North Korea is available on the European Union's website.