Minister Flanagan joins EU Foreign Affairs Ministers discuss Middle East Peace & Migration19 May 2015
Minister Flanagan joins EU Foreign Affairs Ministers to discuss the Middle East Peace Process & Migration
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan T.D., today urged EU Foreign Ministers to increase their collective engagement with the Middle East Peace Process, and to enhance the role of the EU in promoting a lasting settlement.
"In recent weeks I spoke to HRVP Mogherini and urged her to include the Middle East Peace Process on the agenda for this month's Foreign Affairs Council, our first meeting since the recent Israeli election.
"I am pleased we had a frank discussion on the Middle East Peace Process today. I expect we will have a more substantive discussion next month following HRVP Mogherini's visit to the region this week. She will be accompanied by the EU's new Special Representative Fernando Gentilini. Today was our first opportunity to meet SR Gentilini; I assured him of Ireland's support in his important and challenging role."
At the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:
“I hope today's meeting is the start of a frank and useful discussion at the Foreign Affairs Council. The EU has the capacity make a positive difference and we have a responsibility to act.
"The Peace Process is at standstill. We know that events on the ground are rapidly closing the window on a possible two-state solution. We must act to defend that solution which is the core of our policy on the Middle East Peace Process and the only path that will provide peace, security and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
"It is early days for the new Government in Israel. We cannot anticipate what the new cabinet will do. We must judge its members on their actions. Equally, we, as a Union, will be judged on our actions."
After the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:
"HRVP Mogherini informed Ministers that work is proceeding on the issue of the labelling of settlement products. This work is important - it will provide EU consumers with the opportunity to make informed choices about the goods. These settlements are contrary to international law and imperil the two State solution."
The Council also discussed the EU’s response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, and in the presence of EU Defence Ministers, preparations for a discussion by the European Council to take place in June 2015 on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union. On the crisis in the Mediterranean Minister Flanagan added:
“Work on a comprehensive approach to addressing the crisis is ongoing. The EU remains committed to using all the tools at its disposal to tackle the root causes of the humanitarian emergency and to prevent the loss of more innocent lives at sea. This strategy includes continued provision of development assistance to help build economic capacity in source countries and performance of search and rescue tasks as necessary. Today ministers agreed to establish an EU operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean to disrupt smuggling networks which drive this trade in human misery and exploit vulnerable people for profit.”
18 May 2015