The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., today (Monday) begins a four-day working visit to the Middle East, his second visit to the region as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Tánaiste’s itinerary includes a wide range of engagements in Cairo, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Gaza.
His first stop will be in Cairo, where he will meet with Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, to discuss a range of topics, including the bilateral relationship and regional issues. The Tánaiste will also meet with the Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, to discuss developments in the region, including the Middle East Peace Process.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Tánaiste will travel to Israel and Palestine where he will meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian representatives, and with UN officials. On Thursday, the Tánaiste is expected to travel to Gaza where he will meet with the Palestinian Minister for Education and Higher Education, Dr. Sabri Saidam. He will also meet officials from UNRWA and the OHCHR, as well as representatives of organisations funded by Irish Aid.
Speaking at the beginning of the visit, the Tánaiste said:
“I am pleased to begin my first visit to Cairo as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. I look forward to re-engaging with Egypt across a broad spectrum of important issues, including trade, international development, the Middle East Peace Process and the challenges facing the wider region in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.”
“This is my second trip to Israel and Palestine as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. This reflects the importance I attach to the Middle East Peace Process, and the high priority given to this issue by the Government, the Oireachtas and the Irish people. I will meet with a range of interlocutors from the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as from other international and non-governmental organisations. I will use the opportunity of this visit to express Ireland’s concerns about the impact of the continuing occupation”.