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Tánaiste takes part in Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., is in Vilnius today where he is attending the Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies. 

The conference brings together Ministers from over 65 participating States to discuss measures to support democratic institutions and values.  A particular focus of the Conference is the Arab Spring and the need to support those emerging democracies and countries in transition in the region. 

While in Vilnius, the Tánaiste is also holding a series of one-to-one meetings with a number of Foreign Ministers including his Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Moldovan, and Serbian counterparts.  These meetings take place in the context of the preparations for Ireland’s Chairmanship-in-Office of the OSCE which begins on 1 January 2012.  The Tánaiste is also availing of this opportunity to seek support for Ireland’s candidacy for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2012 to 2015. 

This afternoon the Tánaiste met the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Mr Andrius Kubilius.  Lithuania is the current Chairman-in Office of the OSCE and will succeed Ireland as EU Presidency in 2013.  The meeting focused on relations between Ireland and Lithuania and on OSCE matters.  The Tánaiste highlighted those areas which he intends to prioritise when Ireland takes the chair of the OSCE, in particular, freedom of the media, good governance and enhancing the conflict prevention capacity of the OSCE.    

Speaking from Vilnius the Tánaiste welcomed the opportunity to meet his colleagues and discuss issues of common interest, in particular against the background of Ireland’s forthcoming Chairmanship of the OSCE and EU Presidency.  He added:

“It is critically important in the light of the extraordinary events shaping the countries of North Africa and the Middle East that countries which enjoy the benefits of established democracy should come together to find ways of supporting emerging democracies and countries in political transition”.

Referring to his separate meetings with counterparts, he said:

“I am particularly pleased to have had the opportunity to meet my colleagues here today.  Among the issues discussed was Ireland’s candidature for the Human Rights Council for the 2012 – 2015 term.

I had a very useful discussion with my Lithuanian colleagues.  The ties which already exist between our two countries will be further strengthened over the coming months when we each assume international leadership roles in the OSCE and the EU”.