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Tánaiste meets with senior Palestinian Representative

Diplomatic Relations, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, 2011

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, T.D., met this morning with Dr. Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian representative and former Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister who is currently visiting Ireland as part of a European tour.   Dr. Shaath was accompanied by the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Hikmat Ajjuri, and members of Sadaka, an Irish-Palestinian solidarity group which organised Dr. Shaath’s visit to Ireland.

During the course of an hour-long and very constructive discussion, the Tánaiste and Dr. Shaath discussed the current state of the Middle East peace process and the considerable international efforts underway to get substantive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority resumed.   Following the meeting the Tánaiste said:

“I was very pleased to meet Dr. Shaath this morning and to hear his valuable perspective on current developments.    As I told him, the bonds of friendship between Ireland and the Palestinian people are strong and enduring and we would very much wish to see a Palestinian State established in the near future.”

“The coming weeks will be critical for the efforts now underway to get direct peace talks resumed with a view to arriving at a comprehensive resolution of all the core issues which currently divide Israel and the Palestinian people.    All efforts must be directed to getting both sides back as speedily as possible to the negotiating table so that a just and lasting peace, based on the two-State solution, can be negotiated.   We know well from our own experience both how difficult it can be to get to this point and also how essential it remains.”

“I found my discussions with Dr. Shaath today of great benefit in advance of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels next Monday, where I and my EU colleagues will be briefed by High Representative Ashton on this week’s Quartet discussions in Washington.    I am committed to staying in close contact with all sides, including our Palestinian friends, in the coming weeks on the issue of advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East which, as I assured Dr. Shaath, ranks at the very top of Ireland’s foreign policy priorities.”