Minister Flanagan welcomes intensification of efforts to tackle Ebola20 October 2014
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, has welcomed the announcement that the EU will intensify efforts to tackle the Ebola virus in West Africa.
Speaking after a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, Minister Flanagan said:
"Today’s meeting is an important step in our efforts to tackle the Ebola virus in West Africa.
Many countries, including Ireland, have been working to tackle the spread of this deadly virus which is devastating communities in West Africa in particular. Today’s meeting was about focussing on the EU Member States working together in a coordinated way to pool our respective strengths.
A united and coordinated response is essential. It is encouraging to see further commitments made by the international community in recent days. Ireland is providing over €16million to the region, directly and through NGOs. We are also keeping in close contact with Irish aid organisations operating in the region and our Embassy in Freetown is very active in helping to coordinate the local effort.
“I joined with my colleagues in reiterating the urgent need to intensify support for the region. We recognised the need to support international health workers who are essential in responding to the emergency and have agreed that the EU will provide appropriate care for health workers, including the possibility of medical evacuation if necessary.
“Ireland will continue to work closely with our EU partners, as well as the United Nations, to ensure a coordinated and robust response in the tackling of this virus."
The Foreign Affairs Council meeting also discussed Syria and Iraq, and the situation in Gaza. Minister Flanagan added:
"I joined with my colleagues in expressing serious concern for the humanitarian situation in Syria and Iraq where horrendous acts of violence continue to be carried out. An end to the Syrian conflict and a inclusive government in Iraq are urgently needed, and are critical to bringing about peace and stability in the region.
“Our meeting today also expanded sanctions against the Assad regime in Syria, including a new ban on the export of aviation fuel to Syria.
“On Gaza, we welcomed the outcome of the recent Gaza Reconstruction Conference, held in Cairo on 12 October, which I attended, and at which Ireland pledged €2.5 million in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction aid.
“I expressed the view however that this reconstruction funding would only be effective in an environment where the conflict was not going to resume. The underlying issues in Gaza, including ending the blockade, have to be addressed and resolved politically.
“Resuming substantive negotiations to bring about a two-State solution ultimately represents the only effective way of ending the conflict and avoiding future violence and destruction in Gaza."
20 October 2014