Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, High Representative Mogherini, for joining us today and for your useful and comprehensive briefing.
The United States deeply appreciates the European Union’s contributions to promoting peace, security, and human rights in Europe and across the globe. The EU’s engagement and cooperation with the Security Council, in particular, brings an important degree of influence and resources to help deal with the challenges we collectively face. The United States considers the European Union to be one of our most valuable partners in our effort to ensure global security and prosperity. We recognize that Europe’s security and success are inextricably linked to our own.
Mr. President, five years after Russia’s brazen intervention in eastern Ukraine, Moscow’s aggression continues to threaten the region’s peace and security. We greatly appreciate the EU’s critical role in holding Russia accountable for its violations of international law.
We join the European Union and other partners in affirming that our Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Russia fully implements its Minsk commitments. Likewise, our Crimea-focused sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.
Beyond Europe, the EU has played a key role in other areas of concerns to this Council, including efforts to end the crisis in Venezuela. We’re pleased that 24 EU member states have already recognized Juan Guaidó as the Interim President of Venezuela, and we urge other EU member states to join in formal recognition as well.
Mr. President, we also appreciate the EU’s close partnership in Syria. As the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS works to eliminate the threat posed by ISIS there and across the globe, we look forward to working together to restore security and support good governance and economic growth in areas liberated from ISIS.
Similar efforts are underway in Iraq, where the EU has dedicated approximately $30 million to humanitarian aid and an additional $20 million to development assistance. We welcome this important funding to help stabilize areas formerly under ISIS control.
In Libya, the EU’s support of UN-led mediation efforts to help the country establish a stable and unified government is also critical. We greatly appreciate the EU’s dedication of approximately $70 million there to civil society, governance, health, economy, youth, and education initiatives.
On its own continent, we commend the European Union for counterterrorism efforts and successes, including sanctions implemented in January against the Iranian intelligence service and Iranian officials planning terrorist and assassination plots in the heart of Europe. The EU’s actions send a strong signal to the number one state sponsor of terrorism—Iran—that Europe will not stand idly by while the regime threatens its citizens.
Further, Mr. President, we commend the EU for its support of efforts to apply maximum diplomatic and economic pressure on the North Korean regime to bring about the final, fully-verified, denuclearization of the peninsula. The second Trump-Kim summit serves as a reminder to us all that sustained pressure is the only way to achieve a secure and economically prosperous future for North Korea.
In Africa, the EU has played a key role in conflict prevention, security assistance, and peacebuilding through its support to UN missions and through the EU Training and Capacity Building Missions. We commend these activities and greatly appreciate the EU’s partnership with the UN and the United States, especially in Mali, the African Union’s mission to Somalia, and the Central African region.
We express particular appreciation for the EU’s financial contributions of stipends to the AU forces in Somalia, which has been key to significant progress on both the security and political fronts there, and we encourage the Somali security forces to take ownership of their security. We support the EU’s view of a conditions-based drawdown of AMISOM troops.
In closing, Mr. President, the United States affirms unequivocally the EU’s importance as a crucial partner to the United States, the United Nations, and particularly the Security Council in the maintenance of peace and security around the world.