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Minister Martin to attend EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting

The Minister will attend the monthly meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, which will provide a valuable opportunity for an exchange of views on various issues high on the EU’s policy agenda.

The key issue on the foreign policy side is Gaza and the Middle East Peace Process, in the aftermath of the Israeli seizure of the humanitarian flotilla. This issue has been added to the agenda at the request of the Minister. He and his colleagues will discuss the circumstances which led to nine deaths on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, as well the broader issue of the blockade of Gaza itself. The Minister will stress the need for a credible, transparent international investigation of last week’s events, and re-emphasise the urgent need for Israel to lift the blockade to ease the humanitarian suffering of the people of Gaza.

Following the adoption of a new UN Resolution imposing further sanctions on Iran, Ministers will also discuss the issue of separate, autonomous EU sanctions, as well as the human rights situation in Iran. Ministers will receive an update on Serbia’s cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from its Chief Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz; and will again have an exchange on how to address on a sustainable basis the challenges posed by Somali piracy.

The General Affairs Council will prepare the 17 June meeting of the European Council, which has an agenda covering the new European strategy for jobs and growth, the G20 Toronto Summit, the Millennium Development Goals and Climate Change. The General Affairs Council will also discuss the draft Regulation on the European Citizens’ Initiative and the Icelandic application to join the EU.

The Foreign Affairs Council will open with a session on development cooperation issues, to be attended by Minister of State Power. This session will focus in particular on preparations for the High Level Meeting in New York in September to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals.