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Minister Flanagan joins EU Foreign Ministers at Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg

Agenda: the Middle East Peace Process; the Sahel; FYR of Macedonia, EU-Georgia relations & the Arctic

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, is in Luxembourg today (Monday) to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers. The Arctic, the Sahel, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) and visa liberalisation in the context of EU-Georgia relations are on the agenda of the meeting.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:

I have just concluded a visit to the Middle East, where I met with senior government figures in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, Prime Minister Hamdallah, Foreign Minister Malki and Foreign Minister Shoukry. I also had detailed discussions with the current and incoming Secretary General of the League of Arab States.

“The Middle East Peace Process has been stalled for too long and there is an increasing desire to get the process moving again. I look forward to briefing my EU colleagues on my visit at the Foreign Affairs Council as we reflect on the outcome of the international conference on the Middle East Peace Process in Paris on 3 June.

Ministers will also discuss EU policy on the Sahel. Minister Flanagan said:

Ireland has a particular interest in Mali where we have contributed to the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali since its establishment and to the EU civilian Mission EUCAP Sahel Mali. Today’s meeting provides an opportunity for High Representative Mogherini to brief Ministers on her meeting with the G5 Sahel Ministers, from Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. The spectre of terrorism still hangs over the countries of this region. Mali and Burkina Faso have suffered devastating terror attacks over the past year and in Mali the increase in fatal attacks on the UN force, MINUSMA, in the course of May alone reminds us of just how unstable the region remains. We must re-double our efforts to support the region and today’s discussion is important in that regard."

Regarding recent developments in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Minister Flanagan stated:

I, along with my European partners, have been troubled by the on-going political instability in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for some time. Despite encouraging signs in the wake of the Agreement brokered by the EU and the US last July, the situation remains unsettled. However, I am encouraged by the fact that the parties are once again prepared to talk to one another, and I am hopeful that a way forward, including on the holding of new elections, can be agreed."

Regarding EU policy on the Artic, Minister Flanagan stated:

The new EU policy is an important step towards recognising the importance of the Arctic. The Arctic is particularly sensitive to the effects of climate change, and is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, with serious consequences both for the local populations and for the global environment."

Press Office
19 June 2016