Tánaiste meets with Palestinian President Abbas28/1/12
Ramallah, 28 January 2012 – The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, T.D., this afternoon met with the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas during the third day of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
The two discussed the ongoing peace efforts being led by the international Quartet and the current exploratory talks facilitated by the Government of Jordan. Speaking after their meeting the Tánaiste said:
"President Abbas and I had a lengthy and detailed discussion about the outcome of the latest round of talks in Amman, and the view of the Palestinian side that prospects for progress are diminishing. I reiterated Ireland's and the EU's full support for the current efforts and willingness to extend all possible assistance to ensure they continue and succeed."
"I have no doubt of the strong commitment on the Palestinian side to peace and a negotiated outcome. It is now incumbent upon us all in the international community to continue working with both sides to identify what positive steps can be taken to ensure we do not face another crisis in the peace process."
"President Abbas expressed appreciation for and encouraged the EU's continuing involvement and I assured him that it was very much in this perspective that I was visiting the region."
The Tánaiste also met with the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riad al Malaki, where the continuing effects of the blockade in Gaza and regional developments, including the current crisis in Syria, were discussed.
Tomorrow the Tánaiste will commence the official Israeli part of his programme when he is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. The Tánaiste will also commemorate the victims of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem. The Tánaiste will tour the Holocaust History Museum, participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and visit the Children's Memorial. Ireland's own Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration will also take place tomorrow, in the Mansion House in Dublin, and will be addressed by President Higgins.