Minister Flanagan discusses Ukraine, the Middle East and Ebola with EU Foreign Affairs Ministers17 November 2014
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, today attended the monthly meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers where Ukraine, the Middle East, Ebola, and Bosnia and Herzegovina were among the matters discussed.
The meeting was the first to be chaired by new EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, and focused heavily on Ukraine. Speaking after the meeting the Minister said:
"The situation in Ukraine remains extremely fragile. I am deeply concerned in particular by reports of the increased level of violence and troop and weaponry movements in Eastern Ukraine.
"At our discussions today we reiterated the importance of the full implementation of the Minsk agreement, and the need for a sustainable political solution, based on the respect for Ukraine's sovereignty, with clear guarantees of border security, disarmament of all illegal groups and the withdrawal of foreign forces.
"I joined with my colleagues in supporting a new initiative by High Representative Mogherini to undertake outreach to the parties involved. This will complement the important contribution being made by the OSCE.
"We also welcomed the parliamentary elections which took place on 26 October in Ukraine, and look forward to the early formation of a new Government which can seize the mandate for reform given to it by the Ukrainian people. There is now a need and an opportunity for outreach, national dialogue and reconciliation. At today's meeting I stressed the need for the new Government to implement an ambitious reform programme to build confidence among the people throughout Ukraine.
"Following the illegal and illegitimate elections, which took place in Donetsk and Luhansk on 2 November, we have also decided to prepare further sanctions against separatists. It is clear that sanctions are having an impact in Russia."
The Foreign Affairs Council meeting also discussed the prospects for the Middle East Peace Process and received an update on the issue of Ebola. Minister Flanagan added:
"At today's meeting we also heard from the new High Representative on her recent visit to the Middle East. The growing violence by both sides in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is of great concern, and shows us that continued political failure will leave a vacuum which more militant or despairing voices will fill. Gaza has just shown us the perils of allowing an unsustainable situation to simply drift on."
"I believe that the EU must become more actively engaged in the efforts to re-launch the peace process, and in confronting the increasingly serious threats to securing a viable, negotiated two-State solution.
"I am confident that High Representative Mogherini will embrace a more active role for the EU so that we can play our part in bringing about a comprehensive peace settlement.
"We also discussed Ebola and received an update from the EU Ebola Coordinator, Commissioner Stylianides. Ireland will continue to work closely with EU partners as well as through the UN system to ensure a coordinated and robust response to this crisis.
"On the ground in West Africa, Ireland is working to combat the spread of Ebola, providing support of over EUR17million to the affected countries and agreeing to deploy three members of the Irish Defence Forces to Sierra Leone, reinforcing Ireland's Embassy in Freetown, one of the small number of Embassies of EU Member States in the region"
17 November 2014