EU foreign ministers to discuss Middle East today

European Union Foreign Ministers began their formal meeting in Luxembourg Monday to discuss inter alia issues concerning the current situation in the Middle East.

"We will exchange views today once again about the situation in the Middle East. An important role is assigned to the EU in terms of helping stabilize the situation in the region," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters ahead of the meeting.

He called on everyone to contribute to de-escalation, saying "we don't want a war. It is time for diplomacy first and we have to make that very clear on behalf of the EU."

Commenting on last week's attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Maas said "intelligence by the American and the British Secret Services suggest that one can be almost sure. We compare that with our own information and we need to treat all that in a very meticulous manner.

"I didn't say I share this assessment, I said we continue to gather information. I know that current information is coming from one direction, in a situation like this we need to be very meticulous and we are taking the time that we need," he added.

On her part, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said the agenda today will focus on the EU's global strategy three years after its launch with a joint discussion by EU defense and foreign ministers.

The global strategy includes the EU's position on multilateralism, support to the UN system and in general how the EU works on the global stage, she told reporters.

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The foreign ministers will discuss Sudan and "it will be very important for us to send a clear message, Ms. Mogherini said, adding that they will also discuss the Middle East situation and bilateral relations with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

Commenting on last Thursday's attacks on the two oil tankers, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said, "of course, any attack is unacceptable".

"The Netherlands doesn't have its own information about who's behind this attack but of course we are very interested in any information that could be provided," he noted.

Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said: "Do you believe that a very reasonable person would think that, with weapons, the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran would be resolved?"

"It would be a disaster; it would be deadly for the region. And there I think there is enough spirit, enough energetic spirit to find a diplomatic solution," he added.

Source: International Islamic News Agency