EU, US to work ‘hand-in-hand’ in East Mediterranean

The European Union and the U.S. will work “hand-in-hand” for a sustainable de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the EU’s top diplomat said Wednesday.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Brussels to discuss wide-ranging foreign policy and security issues, including the Eastern Mediterranean.

“On the Eastern Mediterranean, we will work hand-in-hand for sustainable de-escalation based on our interest in a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey,” said Borrell ahead of a two-day EU leaders’ summit that will also discuss relations with Turkey.

“We agree to launch the European Union-United States dialogue on China as a forum to discuss the full range of related challenges and opportunities,” Borrell also said.

The EU and the U.S. will continue to hold high-level meetings on issues such as “reciprocity, economic issues, resilience, human rights, security, multilateralism and areas for constructive engagement with China such as climate change.”

On Russia, the two top diplomats agreed to coordinate their efforts to address “Russia’s confrontational behavior and encourage Russia to abandon this path,” he said.

Borrell said they will continue to work on the U.S.’ return to the Iran nuclear deal.

He also expressed support for U.S. involvement in the European Union Defense Initiative and to enhance the trans-Atlantic dialogue on these issues.

Blinken for his part said the two diplomats discussed wide-ranging issues “focused on our collective security, focused on our shared future.”

“We talked about our shared concerns about Russia’s aggression, especially toward its neighbors. We talked about our shared goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the urgent need to address climate change and the challenges that China presents to the rules-based order that we both subscribe to,” he said.

“We can approach Beijing most effectively when we are working together and coordinating our approaches,” he added.