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Minister Flanagan to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council

European Union, International Relations, Minister Charles Flanagan, Security, Press Releases, Africa, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, 2016



Minister Flanagan to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council to discuss Colombia, Migration, Eastern Partnership, Libya, Syria, Iraq and ISIL/Da’esh

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, is in Luxembourg today (Monday) to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers. Colombia, Migration, Eastern Partnership, Libya, Syria, Iraq and ISIL/Da’esh are all on the agenda. The Council will also meet with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:

“The ongoing conflict and instability in the Middle East, including in Libya and Syria, are the root causes of the most serious challenges facing the EU at the moment – that of violent extremism and mass migration. Tackling Da’esh and the terrorist threat posed to the citizens of Europe and the Middle East requires a comprehensive approach, which fulfils the mandate for counter terrorism which the UN has established, and addresses regional instability, insecurity and the fragility of key state institutions in States including Libya and Syria.

“It is vital that the EU continues to address the migration challenge in a comprehensive and coordinated way. The EU-Turkey agreement is an important step in the efforts to manage this crisis. Ireland has consistently taken the position that tackling the migration and refugee crisis has to also include comprehensive longer term solutions that address the causes of such large-scale movements further upstream, and I look forward to discussing this at the Council meeting.

“Our meeting with the UN High Commissioner for refugees will also provide an opportunity to discuss the UN Summit on large movements of refugees and migrants which will take place in September. Ireland has once again been honoured to be given the role of co-facilitator for the intergovernmental consultations leading to the Summit, following our successful role in the process leading to the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals last year.

“Ireland continues to play its part in addressing the migration challenge. The first of the 4,000 migrants Ireland agreed to take in in September have begun arriving in recent weeks (281 people). Last year, our navy rescued over 8,500 people from the waters of the Mediterranean. Earlier this month the Government announced that it would send a further naval vessel to continue this life-saving work.”

Foreign Ministers will also meet with the with the Colombian government’s chief peace negotiator, Dr Sergio Jaramillo and the EU Special Envoy to the Colombian Peace Process, Mr Eamon Gilmore, to discuss the latest developments in the talks between the Colombian government and FARC rebels.

“Ireland is a strong supporter of the Colombian peace talks. The advances made in the talks over the past year are extremely encouraging and there is now a historic opportunity to bring a definitive end to over fifty years of violence. I look forward to discussing recent developments in the process with Dr Jaramillo and my former colleague, Mr Eamon Gilmore, in his role as EU Special Envoy to the Colombian Peace Process.”

The Council will also discuss preparations for the Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting which will take place on 23 May 2016. Minister Flanagan said:

“I welcome this discussion on the Eastern Partnership, which is a vital and inclusive framework for cooperation and dialogue with our Eastern Neighbours. I am deeply concerned by the very worrying escalations seen recently in the Nagorno Karabakh region, and I look forward to discussing this with EU Foreign Ministers.”

Press Office
18 April 2016