Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, said EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels have agreed to expand the criteria for listing people and entities against whom sanctions can be imposed. The move is in response to continuing instability in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.
Speaking after the EU Foreign Affairs Council today, Minister Flanagan said:
"At our meeting today, Foreign Ministers agreed to broaden the criteria for individuals and entities against whom sanctions can be imposed. This is in response to the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine.
“Sanctions can encourage all sides to come to the negotiating table and reach a peaceful solution to their differences. Today we also made it very clear that we are willing to consider further measures if the situation does not improve.”
Ministers discussed the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine last week. Minister Flanagan said:
“I joined with my European colleagues in expressing our deepest sympathies to those who have lost family and loved ones on flight MH17. We are calling for a full, thorough and independent international investigation to ensure those directly and indirectly responsible are held to account and brought to justice.
“All sides in the conflict must now work together to ensure the hundreds of families bereaved can get the answers they need, and that the remains of the victims of the crash can be recovered and repatriated without delay.
“This tragic incident highlights the urgent need to bring the conflict in Eastern Ukraine to an end.”
The meeting of Foreign Ministers also discussed the situation in Gaza and the Middle East. Minister Flanagan said:
“The EU has today called for the immediate cessation of violence and of all attacks. We condemned both the rockets attacks into Israel and the very high level of civilian casualties in Gaza, and have stressed again the need for any military action to be proportionate.
“We called on the parties to resume meaningful negotiations with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the 1967 borders.
“We have also discussed the humanitarian aspects of the crisis in Gaza and underlined the need to provide access for humanitarian assistance. Yesterday I announced funding of €500,000 for the United Nations’ emergency appeal for families affected by the devastating conflict in Gaza. The funding will provide food, shelter and healthcare to thousands of families, many of whom have had to flee their homes. This funding is in addition to Ireland’s broader programme of assistance to the Palestinian people, which amounts to over €10 million per year.”