Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, today attended an extraordinary meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels called to discuss the situations in Iraq, Gaza, Ukraine and Libya.
Speaking after the EU Foreign Affairs Council today, Minister Flanagan said:
“I welcomed the opportunity today to discuss with my EU colleagues the critical situation in Northern Iraq where a brutal wave of violence is being inflicted by ISIS against the civilian population. I joined with my colleagues in condemning in the strongest possible terms the atrocities which are taking place, especially, though not exclusively, against vulnerable minority populations such as Christians and the Yazidi people.”
“At the meeting the EU reiterated its continued support for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq, including through the establishment of a humanitarian air bridge to Northern Iraq.”
“Ireland is actively supporting the international relief effort currently underway, including through the provision of €500,000 in support of the work of UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq.”
“The issue of responding positively to the urgent requests by the Kurdish authorities for military support was also discussed. Along with a number of other EU partners I intervened to ensure that the Council Conclusions which were agreed fully reflected and respected the individual legal and political positions of Member States in responding to such requests”.
The meeting of Foreign Ministers also discussed the situation in Gaza. Minister Flanagan said:
“I was pleased that Foreign Ministers once again discussed the crisis in Gaza. I warmly welcomed the Conclusions which reiterated the EU’s full support for Egyptian efforts to broker a durable ceasefire and an agreement which effectively addresses the underlying causes of the conflict.”
“I also urged a more active role for the EU in supporting any comprehensive agreement that is eventually concluded and in working to promote the resumption of substantive peace negotiations”.
“The EU has unique capabilities and expertise to offer and I very much welcomed the process of reflection now underway and which will continue at the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers later this month on a more substantial role for the EU in underpinning current peace efforts”.
The Foreign Ministers also addressed the situation in Ukraine. Minister Flanagan said:
“I remain very concerned about the worsening crisis in Eastern Ukraine and the humanitarian impact on the civilian population there. There can be no military solution to the current conflict in Ukraine, and I joined with my EU colleagues in calling for an immediate de-escalation and the resumption of dialogue to find a peaceful resolution”
“The Council called on all parties to support and facilitate the work of international humanitarian organisations in Eastern Ukraine and for assistance to be delivered through the appropriate channels in agreement with the Ukrainian authorities.”