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Minister Schwarzenberg in Brussels


First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Karel Schwarzenberg attended a GAERC (General Affairs and External Relations Council) session. It was the first GAERC session attended by Schwarzenberg after assuming his minister´s duty. Minister Schwarzenberg met High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton at the session.

Minister Schwarzenberg after GAERC sessionKarel Schwarzenberg expressed his personal support to High Representative Ashton for creation of European External Action Service (EEAS). EEAS will be a fundamental pillar of effective promotion of common foreign and security policy. The Czech Republic considers proportional representation of member states, geographical balance and budget neutrality in EEAS to be the key principles. Minister Schwarzenberg assured Catherine Ashton of readiness of Czech diplomacy to nominate good candidates for senior posts in Brussels as well as for ranks of heads of EU delegations in abroad.

General Affairs Council (GAC) discussed the draft proposed by High Representative Ashton. GAC adopted a decision establishing the European External Action Service (EEAS) and setting out its organization and functioning. Organizational structure is not a part of the decision and its final shape will be discussed in upcoming meetings. GAC discussed preparation for the ministerial accession conference with Iceland and approved a framework for negotiations. Iceland received candidate status by the decesion of the European Council of June 17, 2010.

EU sanctions against Iran and situation in Cuba were the main issues of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) session. FAC adopted Decision on implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 against Iran and on a package of restrictive measures in the areas of trade, financial services, transport, energy and visas. Minister Schwarzenberg supports measures to export restrictions on equipment endorsing limitation of human rights and freedoms in Iran. The restrictions should limit export of technologies facilitating monitoring of telephone calls, SMS messages, internet filtering etc.

Ministers discussed current situation in Cuba. Cuban regime enabled several political prisoners to leave Cuba on July 13, 2010. The Czech Republic considers releasing of political prisoners to be an important event. The Czech Republic observes the whole process carefully. Minister Schwarzenberg emphasized release of all political prisoners in Cuba to be prerequisite. At the same time it is necessary for political prisoners to have free choice either of staying in Cuba or leaving with their families Cuba and start a new life in abroad. The Czech Republic is able to provide a political asylum up to 10 persons, i.e. to released political prisoners and members of their families.