Tánaiste to discuss the situation in Ukraine with Russian Foreign Minister16 December 2013
EU Foreign Ministers meet in Brussels today to discuss the situation in Ukraine with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Speaking in advance of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., said:
“Ireland was disappointed with Ukraine’s decision last month to postpone signing the Association Agreement with the EU, which together with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area was the most ambitious offer made to any partner by the EU. We hope that it may still be possible to sign the Agreement in the future. I look forward to hearing the latest update on recent developments at today’s meeting.
I welcome the attendance by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov at today’s Council. I expect that we will have a frank discussion on recent events, and will consider the EU’s wider relationship with Russia in advance of the EU-Russia summit at the end of January.”
Ministers will also consider developments in the Central African Republic, where there has been a dramatic deterioration in the situation on the ground in recent weeks. The Tánaiste noted:
“We are increasingly concerned at the suffering of civilians and the reports of gross human rights abuses in the Central African Republic. I welcome the leadership role being taken by the African Union and France in responding to the crisis.
I believe that a UN-led response is the best mechanism to address the crisis and restore order. In this context, I hope that the UN Security Council will revisit the question of a UN peacekeeping operation if the situation continues to deteriorate.”
The Council meeting will also take stock of recent developments with regard to Syria, with an emphasis on the Geneva II Conference next month and the role of the wider international community in creating a supportive environment for the Conference. Ministers will also consider the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon.
Finally, the Ministers will review the situation in the Western Balkans in advance of consideration of the annual enlargement package by the General Affairs Council on Tuesday.
16 December 2013