Tunisia, Iran, and the Middle East Peace Process discussed in Brussels21 July 2015
Minister Flanagan meets with EU Foreign Ministers to discuss Tunisia, Iran, and the Middle East Peace Process
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, today attended a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels, where the situation in Tunisia, following recent terrorist attacks, was amongst the issues discussed. EU Foreign Ministers were also joined at the meeting by both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Tunisia.
Speaking after the meeting Minister Flanagan said:
"Following the terrorist atrocity in Sousse where three Irish citizens were brutally murdered, it was very important that EU Foreign Ministers had a substantive discussion about Tunisia today and agreed a comprehensive package of measures to help the Tunisian government to tackle terrorism and to develop its economy to provide employment options for young people. We want to support the democratic structures in Tunisia which the fundamentalist terrorists are seeking to fatally undermine.
"Tunisian Prime Minister Essid and Foreign Minister Baccouche joined Ministers for part of today's meeting. I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet both and to thank them directly for the assistance which Tunisian authorities provided to us in the aftermath of the appalling attack at Sousse. I assured them that Ireland and our EU colleagues want to work with Tunisia to help the Government to overcome the serious challenges it faces.
"Our priority is to work closely with Tunisia to address the threat posed by terrorism, so as to protect both Tunisians and our own nationals from future attacks."
At their meeting, Foreign Ministers also discussed the successful outcome of the negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue and the Middle East Peace Process. Minister Flanagan stated:
"Ireland has a long history of activism in Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Indeed, our country was the first invited to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968. Therefore Ireland had a special interest in the Iran talks and I, along with my EU colleagues, warmly welcomed their successful outcome after many years of patient diplomacy and negotiation. The agreement reached in Vienna offers firm assurances and guarantees about the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and removes a serious source of tension and instability in the region."
"I also welcome the further discussions we had on the Middle East Peace Process today. There was a clear commitment to the two State solution. In the immediate term, there was a strong awareness of the need to address the urgent needs in Gaza and to support the vital work of UNWRA.
"Today's discussion is part of a determination on the part of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to play a stronger role in the Middle East to restart a Peace Process that has reached a standstill. The European Union can however make a difference. We know that events on the ground are rapidly closing the window on a possible two-state solution. A two-state solution is the policy of the Union – and we must act to defend it.
"It is important that the EU Foreign Affairs Council remains engaged on this issue. Today was a further step. I welcome the Conclusions agreed, and look forward to continuing our deliberations in the coming months."
20 July 2015