Polish, French, German FMs adopt joint declaration
The foreign ministers of Poland, France and Germany adopted a joint declaration on Thursday in Paris, expressing deep concern over the situation in Belarus, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, the occupation of Crimea and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that the foreign ministers of the Weimar Triangle, Poland's Zbigniew Rau, France's Jean-Yves Le Drian and Germany's Heiko Maas, confirmed the EU's position calling for action towards peace, security, democracy and human rights and to protect the values on which the bloc was founded, as well as its own interests.
On the situation in Belarus, the three ministers strongly condemned "violence on the part of the Belarusian authorities and the arbitrary application of arrest in the wake of the presidential elections, whose results we do not recognise."
"We call for the running of new, free and honest elections, fulfilling international standards, free from external influences and in the presence of OSCE/ODIHR (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights - PAP) observers. We support mediation conducted by the OSCE aimed at the support of open dialogue with the whole of Belarusian society," the document said.
The three ministers went on to call on the Belarusian authorities to release all political prisoners and those arbitrarily arrested and to "thoroughly investigate all human rights violations and to cooperate under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism." They also expressed satisfaction at the EU's "decisive reaction" of applying sanctions and the bloc's readiness to impose further restrictions on high-ranking officials including President Alexander Lukashenko.
The three FMs also encouraged the European Commission to work out a comprehensive plan of economic support for a democratic Belarus. In addition, France and Germany expressed solidarity with Poland and Lithuania, whose ambassadors have been recalled from Minsk.
On the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed province of Nagorna-Karabakh, the Weimar Triangle expressed satisfaction at the humanitarian cease fire there, established on October 10. Rau, Le Drian and Maas also said it was important to maintain a strong position against Russia in all issues threatening peace in Europe.
In reference to the alleged poisoning of Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny, the three countries called on Russia to establish "in a clear and exhaustive way" the circumstances of his attempted murder using chemical agents, with the aim of identifying the people who committed the act and bringing them to court. The three FMs also expressed unanimous satisfaction at the introduction of individual restrictions against people jointly responsible for the attack.
The ministers renewed their "unconditional support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine" and strongly condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. The three nations also renewed their obligations within the framework of the Eastern Partnership to support the process of reforms in Ukraine.
On the subject of the EU's eastern flank, the ministers said it was in the bloc's interests to have to have a "stable and secure environment in the eastern region of the Mediterranean Sea and the development of common and mutually beneficial relations with Turkey." They also called on Turkey to cease "all unilateral activities in the eastern region of the Mediterranean Sea and to demonstrate a readiness to engage in dialogue in good faith."
The ministers highlighted the need for a return of balance to economic relations with China but at the same time expressed concern at the state of human rights in that country, including the developing situation in Hong Kong and the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities.
"Confirming the role of NATO as the basis of collective security of the Alliance in the Euro-Atlantic area, our three countries underscore the importance of further building a strong Common EU Security and Defence Policy," the declaration read.