On 13 July 2020, during the European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, the EU Foreign Ministers shared views on the impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean. They also discussed the state of affairs in Turkey focusing on EU-Turkish relations and Turkey’s role in the region.
The Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, underlined that the crisis in the wake of the pandemic has made us aware of how important it is to increase the use of digital solutions in daily communications. This is an area in which the European Union and EU Member States could share their experience with the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region, thus helping them implement reforms in e-administration, said the Minister in the context of the EU’s cooperation with the Latin American and Caribbean region. He also noted that the COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated how important it is to have access to free, reliable and science-based information. The EU’s knowledge and best practices in the fight against the spread of disinformation (including the "infodemic") could be useful to the Latin American and Caribbean countries.
In a discussion on relations with Turkey, Edgars Rinkēvičs drew the Council’s attention to the need for the EU to clearly articulate its position against the transformation of the status of the cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque. Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO World Heritage site. He called on the EU to draw up a new strategy vis-à-vis Turkey. Turkey is an important partner to the EU, with whom it is essential to continue dialogue and cooperation in the areas of common interest, thereby promoting mutual understanding. We are interested in engaging with Turkey to address common challenges, the Latvian Foreign Minister underlined.
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