Minister Flanagan to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels6/2/17
Minister Flanagan to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels to discuss Ukraine, Libya, Egypt and the Middle East Peace Process
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Charlie Flanagan TD, is in Brussels today to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers. Ukraine, Libya, Egypt and the Middle East Peace Process are all on the agenda for discussion.
Speaking in advance of the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:
“The ongoing conflict and instability in the Middle East are the root causes of the most serious challenges facing the EU at the moment – that of violent extremism and mass migration.
“The EU has an important role to play to assist in the resolution of the political crisis in Libya. An effectively governed Libya would contribute significantly to resolving the grave domestic humanitarian situation and the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, as well as addressing the growing threat posed by terrorism to peace and stability in in the region.
“I will also discuss future EU-Egyptian relations with my colleagues. Egypt is a critical regional partner for the EU in a region beset by instability. Support for Egypt’s economic development, democratic transition process and the role of Egyptian civil society are all important factors in advancing Europe’s policies and interests with Egypt. Of course, Ireland’s concerns over the case of Ibrahim Halawa are well known to the Egyptian authorities, as well as to EU colleagues. I will avail of the opportunity to again raise this matter.
“Concerning the Middle East Peace Process, as I have said previously, the only sustainable solution to the conflict is a negotiated two state solution. This is an important message to send at a time when some are casting doubt on a two state solution, by words or by actions. There is no workable alternative.”
Ministers will also discuss the situation in Ukraine. Minister Flanagan said:
“This is a valuable opportunity to assess the EU relationship with Ukraine, including the continuing efforts to implement a national reform programme. There have been many positive developments, including in relation to the reform of the judiciary, tackling corruption and streamlining public administration. It is vital that the EU continue to support Ukraine in staying on this path and building resilience.”
As part of the Government’s programme of engagement with EU partners on Brexit, Minister Flanagan will also meet with the newly-appointed Italian Foreign Minister, Angelino Alfano, to discuss ongoing preparations for the upcoming negotiations, with an emphasis on Ireland’s priority issues, namely the economy, Northern Ireland, the Common Travel Area and the future of the EU itself.
6 February 2017