Tánaiste welcomes increased EU pressure on Syria25 June 2012
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D., has welcomed the conclusions on Syria adopted by EU Foreign Ministers following their meeting in Luxembourg today.
In particular, the Ministers agreed to reinforce EU sanctions against the Syrian regime in response to the escalation of violence in the country. They also condemned the unacceptable shooting down of the Turkish military plane by Syria and called for a full investigation.
Speaking during the meeting the Tánaiste called for pressure to be stepped up on the Assad government to halt all offensive military actions. He called for the Syrian regime to be held accountable for the atrocities committed in Houla and Al Qubair and for the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court. He regretted the suspension of the operations of the UN Supervision Mission, to which Ireland is contributing, and expressed support for making implementation of the Annan Plan compulsory on the parties.
The Tánaiste joined with the other Ministers in congratulating Mohammed Morsi on his appointment as the first democratically elected President of Egypt. The Ministers reiterated their full support to the democratic transition in Egypt and stressed the fundamental importance of the democratic process and the separation of powers as well as the duty to respect the rule of law and to protect human rights.
Underlining the EU’s determination to promote human rights and democracy in the world the Foreign Ministers adopted an EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy. The Tánaiste welcomed the incorporation of a number of Irish proposals in the Strategy. Ministers also looked forward to the future appointment of an EU Special Representative on Human Rights for enhancing the effectiveness and visibility of the EU's Human Rights policy.
The Tánaiste also had an initial bilateral meeting with the newly appointed French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius. Topics discussed included preparations for the forthcoming European Council and developments in the Eurozone, including agreeing a fiscal growth compact and finding a solution for Ireland's bank debt. Later today the Tánaiste will meet with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, and he will launch the newly established Luxembourg Ireland Chamber of Commerce.
Note for editors : The full text of the conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council is available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/press/press-releases/foreign-affairs?lang=en&BID=78