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Taoiseach to attend the EU-League of Arab States Summit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is attending a Summit between the European Union and the League of Arab States, which begins later today in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Co-chaired by EU Council President Donald Tusk and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, this will be the first-ever summit between leaders from the two regions. Representatives of 28 EU member states and 21 members of the Arab League will consider how to strengthen cooperation on issues of mutual interest including multilateralism, regional peace and stability, migration, human rights, counter-terrorism, trade, economic development and climate action.

The Summit begins this evening with an opening ceremony and plenary session, followed by an official dinner. It continues tomorrow morning (Monday 25 February) with two further plenary sessions, concluding after lunch with the Closing Ceremony.

The Taoiseach will make a formal statement during the plenary sessions, and will take the opportunity to highlight Ireland’s priorities and perspective on a range of foreign policy issues. He will also take the opportunity to hold a series of bilateral meetings with EU and Arab leaders.

 Speaking in advance of the Summit the Taoiseach said:

This is the first time that leaders from EU member states and the Arab League have come together in this format to discuss shared priorities. Ireland has strong links with a number of Arab League states, through trade, our peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East and our significant expat communities in the Gulf. Also, we will soon open new embassies in Amman and Rabat. 

Although we do not agree on everything, this Summit will provide an important opportunity for open dialogue on how we can enhance the Euro-Arab partnership and take on regional challenges, including cooperation on migration, security and counter-terrorism.

While Brexit is not on the agenda for the Summit, the event will provide me with the opportunity to discuss latest developments with many of my EU counterparts who will be in attendance.