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Political Dialogue and Institutional Reform Needed to Resolve the Crisis in Ukraine

A Conversation with Federica Mogherini

Speaker: Federica Mogherini, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Italian Republic
Presider: Lally Weymouth, Senior Associate Editor, Washington Post
May 16, 2014

Event Description

With Italy preparing to assume the presidency of the European Union in July, Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini joins Lally Weymouth of the Washington Post to discuss current Italian diplomatic efforts. She is optimistic that successful elections in Ukraine can lead to a de-escalation of tensions between Russia and the West, but says that progress toward a political solution in Syria has been limited. Mogherini also expresses her view that human rights concerns rather than economic ones deserve the greatest weight when responding to international crises.

Event Highlights

Federica Mogherini on the possibility of additional sanctions against Russia:

"The third phase of sanctions has to be balanced in terms of burden-sharing among the different European countries. And as you know, some of us have stronger relations with Russia in the field of energy, others in the field of defense, others in the financial field, so we have to prepare technically our set of sanctions in a much more complicated way. But the real point is that now we are—while preparing that on the technical level, and we're ready to adopt them if needed, we have now the big chance of concentrating ourselves on facilitating the dialogue so that the elections can take place and be a success."

Federica Mogherini on whether nuclear negotiations with Iran can lead to improved overall relations:

"I think they are quite optimistic on the possibility of reaching a definitive agreement by July. And I think that would be a very good and positive sign of the fact that we could engage Iran on different dossiers, if that goes well. Obviously, there's no deal that can be done nuclear in exchange of something else. The nuclear issue is definitely to be settled as a priority, and there is no way that Iran can and should have any kind of nuclear military facilities. That's for sure. But if they manage to get to an agreement, a definitive agreement that is positive, I think we should also test their willingness and their readiness and their capacity to become a responsible regional actor."

Federica Mogherini on the importance of prioritizing humanitarian concerns when dealing with crises:

"First of all, the situation in Libya is of concern, regardless of gas. There is also a gas issue, but as in Ukraine, the main concern is not the economic one. Again, I'm a strong believer of the fact that the situation of human rights and the situation of the people on the ground comes first. Call it naive, but I think that has to be the basis for policy, to solving the conflict."

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