Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 28, 2020
Thank you. Thank you, Minister for speaking today. Thank you, High Representative Borrell, for your remarks and for joining us today. As the world grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, increased cooperation between the UN and EU takes on heightened importance to ensure effective joint approaches to the current pandemic and other crises we face.
Whether it is UN-EU coordination in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, the United States is deeply appreciative for the EU’s efforts to promote peace, security, and human rights in its own neighborhood and around the world.
The United States welcomes expanded cooperation between the UN and EU, and we are hopeful that the strong, invaluable transatlantic relationship between the U.S. and the EU provides a useful model to follow.
The strength of the U.S.-EU relationship is demonstrated by our cooperation on Ukraine. Ukraine is at an important point in its history – striving to strengthen its democratic institutions, enact needed reforms, and deepen its Euro-Atlantic integration, while defending itself against Russian aggression and malign cyber activity. U.S.-EU cooperation is critical to countering a Russian disinformation campaign designed to normalize Moscow’s continued occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and aggression in eastern Ukraine.
The Trump Administration appreciates the EU’s cooperation on joint sanctions actions against Russia. We share the EU’s conviction that we must continue to impose costs on Russia until Ukraine has regained full control of all of its territory. UN member states must remain firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The United States looks forward to continued cooperation with the EU on holding the Iranian regime to account for the full range of its malign activities. We are committed to maintaining restrictions on Iran’s ability to buy and sell conventional weapons and seeking to establish a new sanctions regime to take effect following the expiration of the existing arms restrictions this October. We strongly urge your support.
U.S.-EU cooperation on Syria is essential to finding a political solution, in line with Resolution 2254. The EU is a critical ally in maintaining the position that there should be no reconstruction assistance flowing to the Assad regime or diplomatic normalization with the regime until the violence ends and there is irreversible progress on Resolution 2254. We appreciate the EU’s efforts to closely coordinate our policies and synchronize further steps commensurate with the political process.
We are also grateful to the EU for its humanitarian assistance and assistance for stabilization programs in northeast Syria. We must work together to ensure humanitarian aid reaches those who need it the most through the most efficient and effective channels. This Council must renew Resolution 2504 at the earliest possible date, in light of both the humanitarian and COVID-19 crises. We note the EU’s continued leadership in providing for the most vulnerable and welcome the EU hosting a fourth pledging conference on Syria on June 30.
The United States appreciates the significant contributions of the EU to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which has been extraordinarily successful in maintaining the hard-fought gains against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. We look forward to continued cooperation to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS.
We are also grateful for the EU’s close cooperation in Iraq. Much like the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the EU Advisory Mission provides vital training to Iraqi security institutions.
In Libya, a UN-facilitated political solution is the only road to long-term stability. External actors must stop fueling the conflict. All UN Member States must comply with the arms embargo, including by ceasing all support for Libyan factions and withdrawing all mercenary personnel. Bringing stability to Libya will require a sustained effort by the UN and steadfast support from the United States and EU. We value the EU’s Operation IRINI and its contributions to implementing the arms embargo.
The United States commends the EU for its support of efforts to apply diplomatic and economic pressure to the North Korean regime to bring about the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK. It is important that the international community send a strong, unified message that North Korea halt provocations, return to negotiations with the United States, and abide by its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.
In Africa, the EU has played a key role in counterterrorism, conflict prevention, security assistance, and peacebuilding. We are especially grateful for the significant financial support the EU provides for peace and security initiatives in Africa. Through its Africa Peace Facility, the EU has provided significant support for African-led security initiatives, including sending troop stipends for the AU Mission in Somalia and reimbursements to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali for its support of the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
The EU and its member states play an active role in building capacity in the Sahel, and in supporting important initiatives to strengthen international coordination. We welcome the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which provided over $5 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to 26 African countries to address the sources of instability, forced displacement, and irregular migration.
As Venezuela faces increasingly dire conditions, the illegitimate Maduro regime is destroying the country’s economy, obstructing humanitarian assistance, and repressing democratic actors, including journalists and medical professionals attempting to provide accurate information on COVID-19. U.S.-EU coordination in support of democracy there is more vital than ever.
We welcome the EU and Spain co-hosting a donors’ conference on May 26 to bridge the humanitarian gap for Venezuelan refugees and migrants across the region.
Our efforts have sought to increase international and public support for a peaceful, political resolution and financial pressure against the illegitimate Maduro regime – more recently they have focused on increasing momentum around a framework offering an equitable path to a transitional government and free and fair presidential elections. Maduro has already stated that 2020 parliamentary elections are not a priority during the COVID-19 crisis, but we must prevent all efforts by him to stonewall this legitimate democratic process.
Due to these many examples and many, many more, the United States affirms unequivocally the EU’s importance as a partner in the maintenance of peace and security around the world. We look forward to furthering our collaboration in the months and years to come.
Thank you so much.