Minister Xavier Bettel at Antalya Diplomatic Forum round-table; Credit: MAE

Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Minister of Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Xavier Bettel, participated in the Antalya Diplomatic Forum, which was held from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 March 2024 in Turkey.

Minister Bettel had travelled to Turkey at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Hakan Fidan.

The Forum, under the theme "Advancing Diplomacy in Times of Turmoil", was a high-level event that brought together heads of state and government, foreign ministers, representatives of international institutions, academics and representatives of the economic world to debate the main regional and international issues.

In this context, Minister Bettel participated in a round table on "the capacity of the European Union to shape global transitions", together with Igli Hasani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Angelina Eichhorst, Executive Director at European External Action Service of the EU, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, former President of Croatia, and Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain.

During this panel, Minister Bettel recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine have shown that the European Union – when united – knows how to act quickly and decisively. It is therefore essential that EU member states are united, while remaining faithful to the fundamental values of the European Union. “Given the history of the European continent, Luxembourg will always commit, both within the EU and at the international level, resolutely in favour of peace,” declared the head of Luxembourg diplomacy, emphasising the importance of working together to find common solutions to global problems.

Minister Bettel took the opportunity of his participation in this diplomatic forum to hold several bilateral meetings, including in particular with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, and the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon and Moldova. The Minister also met with the EU Special Representative for the Gulf Region, Luigi Di Maio, and the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the World Food Programme, Carl Skau.

These various interviews made it possible to strengthen Luxembourg's relations with the countries concerned, as well as to exchange views on the latest international developments, including in particular the situation in Ukraine and Gaza. In this regard, Minister Bettel expressed serious concern about the latest drama which took place in Gaza when Israeli soldiers opened fire on residents around a food aid convoy, and underlined the importance of an independent investigation to shed light on this incident. “This tragedy shows us once again the absolute necessity for the immediate establishment of a ceasefire, the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza, as well as the release of all the remaining hostages,” highlighted Minister Bettel.