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Foreign Affairs. Hungarian presidency replaces defaulting Cathy Ashton

"To dash". This popular expression has never been more true than during this exceptional Council of Foreign Ministers devoted to the Libyan crisis which was held yesterday (Thursday March 10). Refusing to hold a press conference, the High Representative of the EU, Cathy Ashton, stormed past the journalists who were waiting for her. She was indeed late for the meeting of Defense Ministers… of NATO! As a result, it was the Hungarian presidency of the European Union which replaced the failing High Representative. And it must be said, the journalists have won.

Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi is far more qualified for this task, with notable talent and experience. He also took care to respond in English or even French, rather than in Hungarian to make himself understood by the few journalists from the international press (mainly British and French) who had come to the Council's Hungarian press room. (1st basement, near the stairs).

His summary of the session was interesting because he drew lines of convergence (rather than divergence) on the key subjects: sanctions against the Gaddafi regime, recognition of the Libyan opposition and military action.

Gaddafi is finished, only one solution: to leave.

For him, a clear political message must be sent; the Gaddafi system is over. It cannot be restored to its original state. Only one option is possible: his departure. » He did not specify the ways in which this departure could take place. According to him, “Europeans must back up their words with clear actions. That means " to isolate economically and politically » the current Libyan regime, to stop the violence, to make it clear that further bloodshed has no meaning and " is not able to save himself ". To this end, he assured, it is “essential that close cooperation be established between the EU and the Arab League” (NB: a representative of the European diplomatic service should also be present on Saturday at the Arab League meeting in Cairo).

Other sanctions could follow

The " strengthening of sanctions is also on the agenda ". It is not excluded, he indicated, after the sanctions against five legal entities in Libya, that sanctions be established against oil companies.

De facto recognition is not de jure recognition

We need to know whether we are talking about de jure or de facto recognition, believes Janos Martonyi. De jure recognition is within the competence of States. On the other hand, de facto recognition is possible. “ Moreover - he underlines – the general feeling is that we have to wait for things to evolve.”

Military options: agreement on the conditions, not on the means

On possible military action, he summarized the differences thus (as I mentioned, here Libyan crisis. All military options are on the table. Which?). " IThere is agreement on the general objectives but not on the technical aspects. We have a consensus on the conditions: authorization from the Security Council, agreement from the Arab League, and evaluation according to the evolution of the situation.not. But there is no consensus on the need to act on the situation.

On the possibility of a maritime embargo, he considered that this could be part of the convergence measures. “ If we take measures and sanctions, it is important to ensure that they are respected and to enforce them. »

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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