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Press Releases, 12/8/2017 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Foreign Minister Soini to Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

Press release 216/2017
8 December 2017

The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will meet in Brussels on 11 December. Finland's representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. The topics on the agenda will include Iraq, the Middle East and the Sahel region. In addition, the foreign ministers and development ministers will hold a joint meeting to exchange views on the follow-up to the African Union – European Union (AU–EU) summit, which was held in Côte d'Ivoire.

The foreign ministers will hold a debate on Iraq and recent developments in the Middle East.  The EU’s aim is to avoid the escalation of tensions in the region. As for Iraq, discussions will be held on the EU strategy for engagement with Iraq, which will be adopted at the beginning of next year, as well as on the EU’s support for stability and security in Iraq. Finland lays particular emphasis on the importance of addressing migration matters in the cooperation between the EU and Iraq, including efficient returns.

At the joint session between the foreign ministers of the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) and the Foreign Affairs Council, views will be exchanged on the situation in the Sahel and the EU’s support for the G5 countries’ security initiative.

The development ministers and foreign ministers, for their part, will discuss the results of and further actions following the recently held AU–EU summit. The fact that Finland had a youth representative in its official delegation attracted positive attention.

The Foreign Affairs Council will adopt conclusions on Thailand and on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as on the EU’s Gender Action Plan. Additionally, the Council is expected to adopt a decision establishing the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and determining the list of the participating Member States.

High Representative Federica Mogherini has also invited Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel,  Benjamin Netanjahu, for an unofficial breakfast meeting with the foreign ministers.

Inquiries: Riikka Taivassalo, Special Adviser to Foreign Minister Soini, tel. +358 295 351 960, and Sari Rautio, European Correspondent, tel. +358 295 351 534

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format

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Updated 12/8/2017

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