Minister Flanagan to attend meeting of EU Foreign Ministers28/8/14
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, will attend a two day meeting of EU counterparts taking place in Milan, Italy, on 29-30 August.
The EU ‘Gymnich’ meeting will offer a valuable opportunity for Foreign Ministers to discuss a range of key current issues, including Gaza and the Middle East Peace Process, Iraq and Syria, and the situation in Ukraine.
Speaking ahead of the meeting Minister Flanagan said:
“My meeting with EU counterparts comes at an opportune time. Having seen an end to the present round of conflict in Gaza, we must maintain our focus on the region. A sustainable peace requires action to lift the blockade of Gaza and we must be vigilant in ensuring all elements of the new agreement are quickly implemented.
"The EU must now play its part in supporting a sustainable two state solution with a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel. I will be reaffirming Ireland’s support and calling for a serious discussion about how the EU can effectively support the Middle East Peace Process in the future."
The meeting will also discuss the latest developments in Iraq and Syria. Minister Flanagan added:
“I remain extremely concerned by the current situation in Iraq and the horrendous acts of violence being perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State, particularly the atrocities carried out against women, children and minority groups, including Christians. I am very concerned at reports that militants are recruiting child soldiers.
"The lack of progress in addressing the conflict in Syria has led directly to the appalling humanitarian crisis which has spread to Iraq and is now threatening regional stability across the Middle East. I have been monitoring the situation closely, particularly with regard to the Golan Heights area, where Irish troops have been on high alert since Wednesday as a result of the conflict. It is imperative that the international community act, through the United Nations Security Council, to address this crisis."
Foreign Ministers will also discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine as part of a broad discussion on the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. Minister Flanagan remarked:
“There have been further disturbing developments in eastern Ukraine in the past number of days with reports of further weaponry and fighters entering the country from Russia. This runs counter to the urgent need for de-escalation and dialogue. I will be emphasising our strong support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the need for progress towards a political solution to bring an end to the conflict there.”
29 August 2014
Notes to Editors:
- The 6-monthly informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers is known as the Gymnich, after the castle in Germany where the first meeting was held during the German Presidency of the EU Council in 1974
- Information on Irish support to the Palestinian people, which amounts to €10 million this year, including emergency support during the Gaza crisis, is available here.
- Information on Irish funding to alleviate the humanitarian emergency in Iraq, running to €1.155 million so far this year, is available here.