Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini had a long conversation with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in the margins of the Council of Europe meeting in Vienna. The two foreign ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine, the on-going crises in Syria and Libya, and the international mobilisation to free the schoolgirls abducted in Nigeria.
Minister Mogherini stressed the need for all parties concerned to stop the clashes in Ukraine and at last embark on the pathway mapped out in Geneva. She underscored the need to open a dialogue involving al parties – the only way to resolve the crisis and prevent outright civil war.
The international community, she stressed, will continue to support all attempts to find a peaceful solution, especially through the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe (CoE). With its presence in Ukraine, the OSCE can facilitate and support the dialogue. And the CoE can provide technical assistance to help the Ukrainian courts ascertain who was responsible for the violence on the streets, ensure that human rights are respected, and support the constitutional reform process.
Minister Mogherini reiterated these points in her other bilateral meetings in Vienna, with the Secretary General of the OSCE, Lamberto Zannier, and the Ukrainian foreign minister, Andrii Deshchytsia.
During its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Italy will make every effort to rebuild the dialogue between the EU and Russia, as long as the hoped-for progress is seen on the ground, announced Minister Mogherini.
Mogherini and Lavrov agreed to speak again by phone in the next few days.