BRUSSELS, Feb 23 (KUNA) -- EU leaders blamed Russia and Iran Friday of supporting the Assad regime in Syria to carry out its brutal attacks against civilians.
"The Assad regime is brutally attacking innocent men, women and children. Its backers, Russia and Iran, are allowing this to happen. We urge them to stop this violence," President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, told a press conference after an informal meeting of EU leaders in Brussels this evening.
"The EU calls for an immediate ceasefire, and for providing urgent humanitarian access to, and protection of civilians," he said.
Tusk said that Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras informed "us about the latest developments regarding Turkey's illegal violations in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean.
"On behalf of all the EU leaders, I would like to express our solidarity with Cyprus and Greece, and urgently call on Turkey to terminate these activities. I reiterate our support for the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources, in accordance with EU and international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," he said.
"We are ready to cooperate with Turkey and will assess at our March European Council whether the conditions are there to hold the Leaders' Meeting with Turkey in Varna on 26 March," he added.
The informal summit discussed institutional matters like the new composition of the European Parliament after Brexit.
Leaders broadly supported the idea that fewer EU Member States should mean fewer seats, which means reducing the number of MEPs from 751 to 705, he said.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also presented the idea of a merging the two posts of the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission.
"But there was no appetite to take this forward. Above all, because it would substantially reduce the role of Member States in the EU," noted Tusk. (end)