News Blog

Briefs from B2

(B2) Travel to Israel/Palestine. The EU's chief diplomat, Catherine Ashton, is making another visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, from Tuesday (January 24) until Thursday (January 26). Objective: to convince each side to return to the negotiating table.

EU-US discussion. William Taylor, the US State Department's special coordinator for transitions in the Middle East, will be the special guest of the working group of 27 on the Maghreb/Mashrek on Tuesday (January 24).

Council of Foreign Ministers. The next EU Foreign Ministers' Council will be held on January 23, not January 30. High Representative Cathy Ashton confirmed this on Tuesday (January 10). The question of strengthening sanctions against Iran (banking sanctions and oil embargo) will be on the agenda

Military Committee. The Council is expected to decide on January 23 to ratify the appointment of General de Rousiers as head of the EU military committee from November 2012.

Back-to-school meeting at COPS. It's back to school for COPS ambassadors on Tuesday (January 10). On the agenda: Iran, Syria, Kosovo (with the semi-annual report), activation of the Ops-Center for operations in the Horn of Africa, Georgia and the Middle East. (source: B2, January 6)

New Iranian ambassador in Brussels. Mahmoud Barimani is the new head of the Iranian diplomatic mission to the European Union. He was until now Director General for International Economy and Specialized Agencies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He replaced Ali Asghar Khaji. (source: B2, January 6)

EU representation in Libya. Hungary should continue to represent the European Union in Libya, it is said in Budapest, while waiting for the EU delegation to become operational. The recruitment of a head of delegation is underway. According to our information, a Belgian diplomat is one of the candidates to take this delicate position. (source: B2/, January 6)

The Libyan navy leaves. Turkey should help replenish the Libyan fleet. The commander of the Libyan naval forces, Mustafa Joha, has asked Turkey for its cooperation to rebuild its armada and train its sailors, according to the Turkish Anatolia (AA) agency. It will take a few years, he said.

A new Chief of Staff in Spain. It was a sailor, Admiral Fernando García Sánchez, who was appointed Chief of Staff of the Spanish forces. He was until now deputy chief of staff of the Navy. Born in Grenada in September 1953, he entered the Naval Academy in August 1971, and has a specialty: submarines. He also commanded the patrol boat “Villamil”, the corvette “Infante Elena” and the supply ship “Marqués de la Ensenada”. He took office on January 1. (source: Spanish Defense, January 1, 2012).

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).