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Mogherini lauds GCC participation in coalition against ISIL

The EU High Representative designate Federica Mogherini
The EU High Representative designate Federica Mogherini
BRUSSELS, Oct 7 (KUNA) -- The EU High Representative designate Federica Mogherini has described ISIL as a "major global threat to all of us" and called on regional countries to play a leading role to confront the "terrorist group".
"The first victims of ISIL are Muslims. It proclaims itself a state while actually destroying the state concept. They use religion against other religions which has no base neither in Islam or in any other religions", said Mogherini in a three-hour hearing at the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee Monday night.
"My evaluation of the involvement of the Gulf countries in the coalition is a participation in a coalition and not a military coalition because there are countries involved in the coalition which are not participating in any of the military operation," said Mogherini who is the current Italian foreign minister.
"I think the participation of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries is extremely important. And it is something that we should value as it gives an opportunity to change the whole dynamics on the regional level", she said.
"It is certainly not simple. We have seen how complex it is because people have competing and different interests. There is a lot of work to be done in reconciling different interests. The fact that these countries are participating in the coalition does illustrate that they are aware if the fact that this is a problem that they need to face up a s a regional group and this is an important realization too", she said. "It is not Iraq 3. It is not a clash of civilizations or culture or religions either", stressed Mogherini who has studied Islam and politics and also served in the Middle East desk of the Italian foreign ministry.
She noted that the picture of a pilot from the UAE flying one of the planes "was such a powerful message I think culturally that could develop a different framework for the Gulf countries to relate to the region", she said.
"It's a huge crisis, but it is an huge opportunity for different regional powers and actors to start working together", she stressed.
Mogherini said she represented the outgoing EU High Representative Catherine Ashton at a recent EU-GCC meeting, "and we talked precisely about how we could revive our partnership economically and politically".
Replying to a question by the MEPs she said Iran "could play a constructive and could play a destructive role in the region".
"That's why I think it is right to engage Iran and try to see if it can instead of being a spoiler could be part of the solution", she said.
She added that either we get an agreement before he 24 November with Iran on the nuclear issue,"or it will be extremely complicated to get one after that." She warned that unless the EU and UN step up efforts to stabilize Libya "it could be next in line" to fall to radical groups.
Mogherini said she supports Palestine's Hamas-Fatah unity government, and noted the EU could put "political pressure" by using financial "incentives and disincentives" on Palestine and Israel to get back to talks.
She said that the core of EU efforts should be directed to the Middle East and the Mediterranean region.
On the Ukrainian crisis she underlined that there is "no military solution to the conflict" and said the EU should focus on helping Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to make peace.
"Russia might not be a partner at the moment, but it's still a country with strategic importance in world affairs, so I guess we'll need to deeply reassess our relations over the next five years", she said.
Meanwhile, the EP's foreign affairs committee will later today decide whether to support Mogherini for the position of the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy to take office in November. (end) nk.ag