Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, TD, will meet UK Foreign Secretary William Hague today to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the Middle East Peace Process, and the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
The Tánaiste is representing the Irish Government throughout President Higgins' State visit to the UK this week. After their meeting, the Tánaiste and Foreign Secretary Hague will join President Higgins and Prime Minister David Cameron for a working lunch at 10 Downing Street.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Tánaiste said they would discuss the potential for further sanctions in a broad range of economic areas in the event of further steps by the Russian Federation to destabilise the situation in Ukraine. They will also discuss EU travel restrictions and asset freezes against named Russian and Ukrainian officials and the cancellation of the next EU-Russia Summit.
Their talks take place ahead of next Monday's meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, where Ukraine will be the focus of discussions.
The Tánaiste will emphasise the importance of keeping channels of communication with Moscow open and continuing to press for a de-escalation of the current tense situation. He will also stress the importance of a free and fair presidential election in Ukraine in May and the need for inclusive governmental structures.
The Tánaiste and the Foreign Secretary are also expected to reiterate their support for a comprehensive and ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US, building on the momentum achieved at the recent EU-US Summit.
The two Ministers will also discuss developments in the Middle East Peace Process, including the continued need for strong EU support for the current US-led peace efforts.
Speaking before the meeting, the Tánaiste said:
“The meeting will focus on priority issues such as Ukraine, the Middle East Peace Process, and EU-US relations, and our roles as partners in the European Union and the United Nations.”
“The State visit reflects the growing friendship and substantial relations between Ireland and the UK. In addition to building on these connections, it is important that we share knowledge and ideas on wider foreign policy issues, where we have many similar priorities."