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Political and Security Committee on Iraq, Ukraine and Gaza

Statement by the Spokesperson following today's extraordinary meeting of the Political and Security Committee on Iraq, Ukraine and Gaza

13 August 2014

Wellington, New Zealand

"At the request of High Representative Catherine Ashton, the EU's Political and Security Committee convened today for an extraordinary meeting to discuss three major crises on which the European Union is fully mobilised.

On the situation in Iraq, there was unanimous agreement on the need for urgent and increased international coordinated humanitarian support, as well as the necessity to access the increasing number of people forced to flee the conflict, in particular those blocked on Sinjar mountain, adding to the already very large number of internally displaced people.

The PSC welcomed the substantial efforts by the EU and its Member States so far, as well as the Commission’s early humanitarian presence in the region and its coordination role. They underlined the need for strong coordination between the EU and its Member States as well as with other partners, in particular the United Nations. They welcomed the activation of the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) with a view to mobilise all the necessary means and resources for efficient aid delivery to those in urgent need.

EU Member States welcomed the efforts by the US and partners to stop the IS advance and facilitate access for humanitarian support. They also welcomed the nomination of a Prime Minister designate and expressed continued support for the constitutional process, underlining the importance of a political solution to the current crisis and the urgent formation of an inclusive Government.

The PSC noted the urgent request by the Kurdish regional authorities to certain Member States for military support and underlined the need to consider this request in close coordination with the Iraqi authorities, as required by the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, while stressing the importance of coordination with international partners.

At the invitation of the PSC, EEAS services will swiftly engage in consultations with neighbouring countries of Iraq and partners in order to develop options for further EU action.

On Ukraine, the PSC was briefed on the political, security and humanitarian situation in Eastern Ukraine, as well as on yesterday's phone calls by Commission President Barroso with Presidents Poroshenko and Putin. The PSC recalled Council Conclusions of June and July 2014, in particular with regards to the ceasefire, border control and the need for Russia to refrain from gathering troops near the Ukrainian border.

Ambassadors underlined the need to address the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, in full respect of international humanitarian law and principles and with the clear consent of Ukrainian authorities, to

further mobilize the international community in this regard, to support the capacity of Ukrainian administration in the delivery of humanitarian aid and to coordinate the relevant Member States' interventions.

They recalled the continued EU support to the efforts by the OSCE through the Special Monitoring Mission, Border Observation Mission, and the Trilateral Contact Group, and stressed the need for the EU to continue to actively contribute to the political process, enabling an exit from the current security situation.

The PSC had a preliminary discussion about the impact of Russian retaliation to EU sanctions and its legality, and emphasized the need to share with third countries the EU assessment of the situation in this regard. In that context, it welcomes the intention of the Commission to convene this week two technical meetings at expert level on agriculture and trade.

Finally, Ambassadors were briefed on the latest developments with regards to the EU civilian mission EU Ukraine and welcomed the progress in its deployment.

On Gaza, the PSC was briefed by the EEAS on the latest developments and by the Commission on the humanitarian situation, and had an exchange of views on possible EU action. At the invitation of the PSC, the EEAS will develop options for an EU contribution in the post-ceasefire scenario, taking into account the PSC discussion and several written contributions by Member States.

ENDS

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