Minister Murphy in Brussels to discuss Iraq, Syria, Western Balkans, Ukraine and Ebola15 December 2014
The Minister of State for European Affairs and Data Protection, Dara Murphy, TD, is in Brussels today representing the Government at the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC). The December FAC meeting will discuss Iraq, Syria, Libya, the Western Balkans, Ukraine, and the latest developments on the Ebola crisis.
Speaking in advance of the Council meeting, Minister Murphy said:
“The crisis in Syria is now almost into its fifth year and the human cost is truly shocking.
“Last night we met with the UN Special Envoy for Syria de Mistura where we considered how the EU can support his efforts as well as looking to the actions which the EU can undertake to promote a political process to end the conflict.
“The need to address the appalling humanitarian crisis and to ensure an end to restrictions on access to humanitarian assistance will be a key priority for Ireland in the discussions.
“Ireland has been to the fore in responding to the humanitarian crisis – in 2014 we provided €14 million in support to the humanitarian relief effort and will continue our strong focus on humanitarian support in 2015.”
On Ukraine and the Western Balkans, Minister Murphy said:
“I am looking forward to the discussions on Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Ireland's position as a strong supporter of Bosnia’s EU aspirations is well known. We will continue to work together with our European partners to help Bosnia to advance on its EU path.
“Ireland remains deeply concerned by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The increased levels of violence and troop movements on the ground in Eastern Ukraine in recent weeks clearly threaten progress towards peace.
“While there has been a reduction in violence in recent days, the situation remains extremely fragile. It is crucial that all sides, including the Russian Federation, fully implement the commitments they have signed up to in Minsk. No actions should be taken to undermine the objective of the negotiated and peaceful end to this crisis that we all wish to see.
On the ongoing Ebola crisis, Minister Murphy said:
“Given the urgency of the situation in West Africa, both today’s meeting and this week's meeting of EU leaders will discuss Ebola.
“This year, Ireland is providing over €18 million to affected countries in West Africa, directly and through NGOs. Direct funding of over €5 million is being provided for Ebola treatment facilities in both Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as for contact-tracing, community sensitisation and child nutrition programmes, among other activities.
“Ireland will continue to work closely with EU partners as well as through the UN system to ensure a coordinated and robust response at international level.”
14 December 2014