Minister Flanagan and EU counterparts discuss Syria and MEPP at first Foreign Affairs Council of '1716 January 2017
Minister Flanagan & EU counterparts discuss Syria, MEPP & foreign policy priorities at first Foreign Affairs Council of 2017
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, attended a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in Brussels today. Syria, the Middle East Peace Process and the foreign policy outlook for 2017 were all on the agenda for discussion.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:
"This was the first meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the year, and it was a welcome opportunity to scan the horizon for 2017. Ministers had a good exchange on the opportunities and challenges facing us in the short term, and how the EU can play an active and effective role in ensuring the stability and security of the continent.
“The continuing instability in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood continues to be of concern. I came to Brussels directly from Paris where I participated in an important international conference on the Middle East Peace Process hosted by President Hollande. The Conference sent a clear message that the international community believes that the only sustainable solution to the conflict is a negotiated two state solution. This is an important message to send at a time when some are casting doubt on a two state solution, by words or by actions. There is no workable alternative.
“Today at the Foreign Affairs Council, we discussed the situation in Syria and how the EU must strengthen its diplomacy to revive the UN-led negotiations. I fully support the efforts of the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, to build cooperation between the EU and the regional and international stakeholders on a way forward for Syria. Ireland and its EU partners reaffirmed our support for the central role of the United Nations in working for a political transition and peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria. The illegal denials of humanitarian access must end. I welcome the proposed Brussels conference later this year which will be co-hosted by the EU, will take stock of humanitarian commitments since the London conference and will look at ways of supporting the UN-led political process.”
16 January 2017