Minister Flanagan attends EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg to discuss Syria, Yemen and Libya and has further bilateral meetings on Brexit with the Foreign Ministers of Sweden & Austria
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, was in Luxembourg today (Monday) to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers. Syria, Yemen and Libya were all on the agenda for discussion. EU Foreign Ministers also met with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Abou El Gheit.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:
"The conflict in Syria is causing untold suffering and displacement of civilians on the ground. Today, the EU once again strongly condemned the continued systematic, widespread and gross violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law by all parties, particularly by the Syrian regime. I and my EU colleagues made clear that the Syrian regime has the primary responsibility for the protection of the Syrian population, and call upon the regime and its allies, notably Russia, to undertake all efforts to ensure a full cessation of hostilities; the lifting of sieges; and full unhindered sustainable country-wide humanitarian access.
"Ireland's total humanitarian assistance to the victims of the Syria crisis reached €76 million as of March 2017. This is Irish Aid's largest response to a single crisis in recent years, which is indicative of the level of priority we attach to the issue. I look forward to the Brussels donor conference on Syria later this week, where Ireland will be represented by Minister of State McHugh.
"EU Foreign Ministers also discussed the severe humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which is also of grave concern. I have previously discussed Yemen with my counterparts in the Gulf region, and raised concerns about the humanitarian situation and attacks which have directly impacted on civilians. Today, I and my EU colleagues reiterated our strong support for the efforts of the UN Secretary General and the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to achieve a resumption of negotiations and called on all parties to urgently agree on a cessation of hostilities to be monitored by the UN as a first step towards the resumption of peace talks under UN leadership. Ireland has provided almost €6 million in humanitarian aid to Yemen since the conflict began and will maintain our support in 2017."
This is the first meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council since the UK formally triggered Article 50 on 29 March. Minister Flanagan continued his extensive engagement with EU counterparts by having bilateral engagements with the Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Austria respectively to discuss ongoing preparations for the upcoming Brexit negotiations and Ireland’s priority issues, namely the economy, Northern Ireland, the Common Travel Area and our vision for the future of the EU itself.