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Tánaiste announces €200,000 for destruction of Syrian chemical weapons

Irish Aid, Funding, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, 2013
The Tánaiste has announced Irish funding of €200,000 for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.

Today’s announcement follows last week’s US – Russian brokered agreement on how to deal with Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

The funds will be channelled through the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW Executive Council, of which Ireland is currently a member, is expected to formally approve the implementation plan for the destruction of the stockpile later this week.

Speaking in New York, where he is due to hold a series of high-level meetings on the ongoing crisis in Syria ahead of the United Nations’ General Assembly, the Tánaiste said:

“The process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons must be quick, credible and comprehensive in order to ensure that their use can never again be contemplated. This is critical for the Syrian people, who have suffered so much, and will improve the security of the Middle East region as a whole.

“The funding I am announcing today will support the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to carry out its crucial work. It reflects Ireland’s long-standing opposition to the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Today’s funding announcement is in addition to the almost €11 million already provided by Ireland in humanitarian assistance to Syria.

The Tánaiste said: 

“Some 7 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict, while more than 100,000 have died. This is an affront to our common humanity.   Ireland is committed to assisting those caught up in this appalling conflict.”

The Tánaiste is in New York for the United Nations’ General Assembly where he will hold meetings with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and several other foreign ministers throughout the week.

Later today, the Tánaiste will join US Secretary of State John Kerry, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Bill and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation to address the opening of the UN Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Special Event will review progress towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and realising the other development goals set by the international community in 2000. Global leaders will also discuss new development targets for the years beyond 2015 – the deadline for the current MDGs.

Speaking ahead of the MDGs event at UN Headquarters in New York, the Tánaiste said:

“Ending global poverty remains the single greatest challenge we face as an international community, which is why we have placed it at the heart of Ireland’s foreign policy. With 18,000 children dying every single day from preventable causes, this is a matter of justice and rights. We in Ireland know this all too well from our own historical experience.”

While in New York the Tánaiste will also meet with Richard Haass, Chair of the All-Party talks on contentious issues in Northern Ireland, to discuss the talks process which began in Belfast last week.

The Tánaiste is also due to speak with a number of US politicians and Irish diaspora groups regarding US immigration reform.

He will also host a number of trade and investment-focused events in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and Tourism Ireland.