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Minister Flanagan holds bilateral talks with US Secretary of State, John Kerry


Minister Flanagan holds bilateral talks with US Secretary of State, John Kerry

The Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan, met this morning (Sunday) with US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Following their meeting, Minister Flanagan stated:

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Secretary of State John Kerry to Ireland – and especially to Tipperary – today, to receive the Tipperary International Peace Award.

“Today, he joined a long list of very distinguished awardees, including Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, George Mitchell, Bill Clinton, Benazir Bhutto, Mary McAleese and, most recently, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

“Secretary Kerry has an outstanding record of public service going back three decades and more. His record is one of distinguished service at state, national and international level.

“In our meeting this morning we discussed a number of issues, both bilateral and international in nature.

“I updated Secretary Kerry on the most recent developments in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, which is an important priority for the Government. I availed of the opportunity to thank the Secretary of State for his personal commitment to the process of peace and reconciliation on this island.

“Secretary Kerry was joined this morning but Senator Gary Hart, his Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. The appointment of Senator Hart is further demonstration of the United States’ commitment to the Peace Process, which we hugely value. I held discussions with Senator Hart last week in Dublin. I would like to thank him for his dedication, skill and insight as Special Envoy.

“Turning to European issues, we discussed the United Kingdom’s intended withdrawal from the European Union. Ireland will continue to work closely with our EU partners and the UK in this regard. Ireland remains committed members of the EU, and we want as close a relationship as possible between the UK and the EU in the future.

“We also had the opportunity to discuss a number of other bilateral matters, including immigration reform. As a former Senator for Massachusetts, Secretary Kerry is aware of the problems faced by undocumented Irish citizens, including being unable to attend important family occasions. Secretary Kerry does not have a direct role on immigration reform, but the Government avails of any all opportunities to raise the issue with the US authorities. We greatly appreciate the efforts made during his tenure by President Obama and his Administration, including Ambassador O’Malley here in Ireland. The Government will continue our two-pronged approach on the issue of immigration reform seeking to regularise the undocumented and seeking a dedicated quota for legal immigration from Ireland.

“Secretary Kerry and I discussed a number of international issues, notably the appalling situation in Syria. The Secretary of State has demonstrated enormous commitment to finding a resolution to the conflict in Syria. I assured him of Ireland’s unfailing support for his efforts to find a peaceful resolution to this harrowing conflict.”

Press Office
30 October 2016