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Tánaiste to discuss situation in Syria and closer EU ties with Ukraine

European Union, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, Europe, 2013

EU Foreign Ministers meet today in Brussels where they will discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in Syria and the Geneva II process aimed at bringing an end to the conflict there. 

Speaking ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., said:

The continuing lack of humanitarian access to the millions now in need within Syria remains unacceptable. It is imperative that all parties to the conflict implement the UN Security Council Presidential Statement on the humanitarian situation in Syria agreed last month. A comprehensive regional response strategy, prepared in conjunction with the UN and other international actors, is also needed and I hope we will see EU agreement on that today.”

EU Foreign Ministers will also discuss the possibility of closer ties with Ukraine, ahead of a major Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius at the end of the month. The EU has previously expressed concern at a number of issues delaying Ukraine’s progress. The European Parliament’s monitoring mission to Ukraine has been working with the Ukrainian authorities there to resolve EU concerns, particularly in the area of selective justice. 

The Tánaiste added:

“Ireland is keen to see further progress from Ukraine to enable the signature of an Association Agreement with the EU. However, further reforms are required from Ukraine in a number of areas if this is to happen. The final report of the European Parliament monitoring mission will be crucial in determining the next step.”

EU Defence Ministers will join EU Foreign Ministers to discuss a recent report prepared by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. The report focuses on how the EU can increase its effectiveness in foreign policy and defence, and examines its relationship with the European defence industry. 

Other issues on the agenda of the EU Foreign Ministers meeting are the EU-China Summit taking place on Thursday and migration challenges facing EU neighbour states in southern Europe and the Mediterranean.