On 10 February, Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs took part in the meeting of the European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. The Council adopted conclusions on Ukraine calling on all actors to refrain from violence and radical actions, to duly investigate all acts of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Analysing the situation in Ukraine, Minister Rinkēvičs commended the involvement of the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Štefan Füle in the crisis resolution and emphasised that a dialogue should be continued between the representatives of the power and opposition in Ukraine. Latvian Foreign Minister accentuated that if violence in Ukraine continues and the Ukrainian government uses brutal force against demonstrators, a possibility of the EU imposing sanctions against certain Ukrainian officials cannot be excluded.
At the same time, Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs invited the Council to consider a possibility of providing economic, financial and technical assistance to Ukraine upon an agreement with international financial institutions. The minister accentuated that, should this happen, Ukraine would have to make a clear commitment to carry out all the required reforms. Mr Rinkēvičs also informed EU foreign ministers about Latvia's readiness to receive up to ten injured people in its health care institutions.
In a discussion on the progress of the Eastern Partnership issues after the Vilnius summit, Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs emphasised that it was of vital importance to go on working, in order for the EU-Georgia and EU-Moldova Association Agreements to be signed as soon as possible. "The signing of association agreements with the most successful partner countries will provide them with a further stimulus for continuation of the required reforms. The countries which see themselves as part of the EU values and stand ready to carry out the necessary reforms should be offered the prospect of closer integration with the EU," Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs accentuated. Latvian Foreign Minister called for continued efforts in relation to introducing a visa-free regime with Moldova and visa facilitations with Belarus.
The Foreign Affairs Council approved a decision on the EU military operation in the Central African Republic (EUFOR RCA) on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2134 of 28 January. In a debate Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs called attention to the fact that, in the course of planning and implementing the operation, close cooperation with international partners should be ensured in the region.
The ministers took stock of the current situation in Egypt and Tunis in view of adoption of the Constitution in both countries, as well as the further course of the transition process. The developments in Libya, Yemen and Syria were also reviewed. The ministers also analysed the situation Bosnia and Herzegovina, given anti-government demonstrations that have taken place over the past days.