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Minister Flanagan briefs Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee on Paris attacks, Migration, Syria

Minister Flanagan briefs Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee on Paris attacks, Migration, Syria and Tunisia

Agenda also includes: the Middle East Peace Process, Iran, Libya, EU plan on Human Rights and Democracy, EU-ACP Relations, Eastern Partnership.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, today (Wednesday) addressed the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade on the discussions that had taken place between EU Foreign Ministers at recent meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council.

Minister Flanagan began his remarks by reflecting on the recent horrific terrorist attacks in France, reporting that he had attending a Foreign Affairs Council meeting just three days after the assault on Paris, and conveyed the condolences of the Irish people directly to the French Minister for Europe:

“The meeting was an important coming together of EU Foreign Ministers at a critical time to demonstrate both our support and solidarity with our French colleagues, and our unity as a union of Member States in the face on this assault on our citizens and on our value system.”

Addressing the ongoing migration crisis, the Minister said:

“In recent weeks the EU has intensified its response to the crisis. During the Foreign Affairs Council last week, my colleagues and I discussed the importance of implementing the decisions already taken in this area.

"In particular we welcomed the Action Plan agreed upon at the Valletta Summit of 11/12 November. This Action Plan lays out medium and long term policies to address the root causes of migration.

"The key deliverable of this Summit, which brought together EU and African leaders, was the establishment of the Trust Fund for addressing the root causes of migration in Africa, with €1.8bn from the European Development Fund and additional bilateral contributions, to which Ireland is contributing €3m."

The Minister addressed the conflict in Syria which, he said, had driven a migrant crisis which has "brought a foreign policy issue to European doorsteps in a way that is rarely seen. It has brought home to us how conflicts in the EU’s neighbourhoods can impact on the Union, down to the level of towns and citizens."

Regarding a way forward to resolve the crisis, Minister Flanagan welcomed the establishment of the International Syria Support Group, which includes HRVP Federica Mogherini, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Council:

“The newly formed International Syria Support Group brings together all of the key external stakeholders in the conflict. The High Representative is one of those attending. The coming together in that context of countries that otherwise have little or no direct engagement shows a seriousness of purpose which is essential to the massive challenge faced.”

Minister Flanagan also made special mention of Ireland’s support for Tunisia’s transition to democracy:

“I made clear that our absolute abhorrence of the murder of three of our citizens in Tunisia would strengthen our solidarity with the people of Tunisia, who have also suffered greatly from the impact of terrorism. The EU has already made clear its commitment to supporting Tunisia in its development towards a prosperous, secure and democratic State.”

25 NOVEMBER 2015