Tánaiste welcomes strong EU Statement on the Middle East

Tánaiste welcomes strong EU Statement on the Middle East

 The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., today strongly welcomed the conclusions adopted by EU Foreign Ministers urging a prompt resumption of political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 

 Speaking after the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels, the Tánaiste said:

 "Today's statement marks an important step in EU efforts to break the impasse in negotiations for a settlement to the conflict in the Middle East.  Ireland has made a substantive contribution to the drafting of this statement, something which I have been pressing for since my visit to the region in January.

 In our discussions today, I expressed my deep concern about developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible. 

 I welcome the fact that, for the first time, the EU Foreign Affairs Council has set out what these threats are, particularly in regard to the marked acceleration in Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the worsening of the living conditions of the Palestinian population.  The EU has also condemned in unequivocal terms violence and intimidation by Israeli settlers.  We also stressed that a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as a future capital of two states.  

 It is important that the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority now make use of the opportunity presented following the discussions which took place between the two sides this weekend, to resume substantive negotiations with a view to achieving a two state solution."

 Press Office
 14 May 2012

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