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Support for EU measures against Syria

The Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton T.D., gave Ireland’s support to the introduction of new sanctions against Syria at a meeting of EU Ministers in Brussels today.  The Minister said: 

“The situation in Syria is worsening, with an increasing death toll. We must continue to exert pressure on Damascus to end the crisis. I welcome the additional restrictive measures agreed by the EU today against the Assad regime”

The Minister expressed Ireland’s increasing concern about the nuclear situation in Iran and joined her EU colleagues in condemning the continuous expansion of Iran’s enrichment programme. Ministers agreed to look at possible new and reinforced restrictive measures against Iran at their next meeting. 

On the future of EU policy towards Afghanistan, the Minister reiterated Ireland’s on-going commitment to the country and to the EU Police Mission there, in which members of the Garda Síochána are participating.  The Minister said:

“Ireland strongly supports the international community’s involvement in helping Afghanistan in its next phase of transition to a peaceful, democratic nation, based on respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

The Minister welcomed the EU’s response to the worsening situation in the Horn of Africa with the adoption of a new Strategic Framework for the region.  Ministers discussed the political aspects of the crisis there, ahead of a discussion of the humanitarian situation amongst Development Ministers, which was attended by the Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan T.D.

EU Ministers also welcomed the recent positive developments in Libya, including the Declaration of Liberation on 23 October and the appointment of a new Prime Minister.  They acknowledged the significant challenges that lie ahead for the country and underlined the EU’s commitment to assist the Transitional Government in establishing functioning and democratic institutions in the country, as part of an overall UN-led process.  Ministers also welcomed the conduct of the recent elections in Tunisia to elect a Constituent Assembly, and reiterated the EU’s commitment to support the Tunisian transition with concrete steps to increase trade and integration with the EU.

Minister Creighton will also attend the General Affairs Council in Brussels tomorrow (Tuesday 15th November), which will discuss the future of the EU budget for 2014-2020 and prepare for the next European Council meeting on 9 December.