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Minister Antonio Tajani’s participation in the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Antonio Tajani, will be on a mission to Brussels tomorrow, 19 February, to take part in the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union.

The meeting, chaired by High Representative Josep Borrell, will open with a discussion on the situation in the Middle East, which will be followed by an informal exchange of views with the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction in Gaza, Sigrid Kaag. Another central issue is the protection of freedom of navigation and trade in the Red Sea to which the EU will contribute with the naval operation Aspides: tomorrow the European Foreign Ministers will officially approve its launch. Aspides, of which Italy – that proposed the initiative, together with France and Germany – will have operational command, is an important signal of strengthening for European defence.

The situation in the Sahel is also on the agenda. This is the third exchange of views in just over three months and will focus on the modalities of the future European commitment in the region. In particular, the Ministers will discuss how to ensure continuity for the EU’s role in the face of growing local instability.

Italy, along with other Member States, will launch a discussion of the 27 countries on the death in prison of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny. A topic already raised by Hon. Tajani at the first meeting of the Ministers of the G7 Foreign Ministers for the year of the Italian Presidency, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on 17 February.

The Ministers will then have a working session devoted to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which will also be attended by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba. At the request of the Baltic countries, there will also be a discussion on the situation in Belarus.