Foreign Minister Soini to Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

Foreign Minister Soini to Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will meet in Brussels on 18 February. Finland's representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. The topics on the meeting agenda include Ukraine, Syria and the Horn of Africa. At lunch, foreign ministers will discuss the situation in Venezuela. Minister Soini will also attend an EU-Ukraine breakfast meeting, hosted by Denmark and Ukraine. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin will be present, too.

The illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the start the conflict in Eastern Ukraine started five years ago. Foreign ministers will have a comprehensive discussion on the situation in Ukraine in light of the upcoming presidential election in the country on 31 March. The aim is to strengthen the European Union's solid support for Ukraine's sovereignty and regional integrity Finland considers that it is important for Ukraine's democracy development that the international obligations and standards for democratic elections be observed in the upcoming election.  In addition, Finland stresses the significance of freedom of navigation in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait and the importance of social reforms.

Foreign ministers will also discuss the impacts of the US decision to withdraw its troops from Syria and the preparations for the Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, to be held in March. Finland underlines the importance of the EU's full support for new UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen. The views of people in Syria, especially women and youth, must be heard when solutions are reflected. Finland and the EU support various civil society dialogues on peace.

In its exchange of views on the Horn of Africa, foreign ministers will take stock of regional developments and the situation in different countries as well as regional cooperation.  Finland supports security and stability in the Horn of Africa through a strong commitment to Somalia's crisis management operations.

Inquiries: Miia Rainne, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 421, and Anna-Mari Hämäläinen, Deputy European Correspondent, tel. +358 295 350 282

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected].