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Minister Lipavský attended FAC meeting in Brussels
Photo: MFA CZ
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Minister Lipavský attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels


At this year's first meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 22 January in Brussels, EU foreign ministers discussed Russian aggression against Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East. On the margins of the Council meeting, Minister Lipavský also held bilateral meetings with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz.

During the EU ministers' discussion on Russian aggression against Ukraine, attention was paid to the importance of continued military and financial support to Ukraine and the negotiations on the new envelope of the European Peace Facility. Ministers agreed that Ukraine's security is closely linked to the security of the EU and robust support is therefore crucial. "Ukraine's security is also linked to our security. That is why we must continue to provide military and financial support to Ukraine in its defence against Russian aggression," the Czech diplomatic chief said.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also joined the discussion on Ukraine by videoconference, as per usual. Following the decision to launch EU accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova in December 2023, the ministers welcomed the European Commission's decision to launch a screening of the legislation of both countries and the preparation of frameworks for negotiations on their accession to the EU. Minister Lipavský also expressed support for the preparation of the next package of EU sanctions against Russia and steps to prevent their circumvention. "In this context, Czechia proposes to establish the restriction of the movement of Russian diplomatic mission staff and their family members only to the territory of the state where they are accredited. It is not right for Russian diplomats to take advantage of Schengen area. We will do our utmost to ensure that our proposal is included in the 13th sanctions package," said Minister Lipavský.

The FAC Council also held an exchange of views on the situation in the Middle East. The Czech diplomatic chief repeatedly condemned the Hamas terrorist attack of 7 October last year and called for the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza. During the debate, Minister Lipavský praised the adoption of a sanctions regime against Hamas and other terrorist groups and supported the establishment of a new EU naval operation in response to Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. The EU27 Ministers also met with the Israeli Foreign Minister, they discussed the situation in the region jointly with the Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, and separately with the Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. During the debate, the Ministers praised the activities of Arab partners aimed at preventing the spread of violence across the region.

Finally, the ministers touched on the situation in Armenia and Azerbaijan and discussed further possible EU engagement.