Decisive action needed at EU emergency meeting – Smith
Minister Charlie Flanagan should spell out Irish policy position on key crises to avoid repeat of UN abstention mess
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD has welcomed the decision to hold an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council this Friday. The meeting will discuss the escalating situations in Ukraine and Iraq.
Deputy Smith commented, “For too long the European Union has sat back while the crises in Ukraine, Gaza and Iraq intensified. We have seen an appalling humanitarian disaster unfold on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, yet as a union we have been slow to respond to this emergency. I welcome the Government’s announcement today of additional funding for aid agencies on the ground, but what we really need to see is a comprehensive EU approach that deals with both the humanitarian crisis and the political instability. Over the past number of weeks, Fianna Fáil has repeatedly called for the international community to respond and deal comprehensively with these crises.
Speaking about the situation in Ukraine, Deputy Smith said, “I’m very concerned about the increased tension and political rhetoric from both Russian and Ukrainian elements. The latest stand-off concerning a Russian convoy apparently carrying aid, bound for East Ukraine has the potential to further destabilise the region. One of the proposals I would like to see discussed by EU Ministers on Friday is the possibility of an international role being taken in relation to humanitarian aid.
“There was shock and surprise when the Government decided to abstain from a vote to establish a UN inquiry into violence in Gaza. I believe to avoid confusion and questions over Ireland’s position on international matters of concern that the Government should clearly set out what Irish policy is on these issues and what we hope to achieve with our European colleagues this week. We should be taking a more proactive role in helping to shape the decisions made by the EU, and I would urge Minister Flanagan to explain his proposals in advance and take a more hands on approach to our engagement in these discussions”.
Fianna Fáil calls for Government to demand urgent EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting to discuss Gaza-Israel crisis
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD is calling on the Government to seek a special meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. The EU’s lack of intervention, as well as its abstention from a UN resolution to establish a commission of inquiry into human rights violations in Gaza and condemning Israel for potential violations of international law, has angered many people in Ireland.
Deputy Smith commented, “I am calling on Minister Charlie Flanagan to seek an urgent meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to address the escalating humanitarian disaster in Gaza. The Israeli ground invasion has entered its fourth week. More than 1,800 Palestinians and over 60 Israelis have been killed in the violence. Images of badly injured women and children have dominated our TV screens for the past month demonstrating so clearly the scale of the situation.
“All loss of life must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, but the bombing of UN schools and designated shelters by the Israeli military is intolerable. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the latest attack on a school in Rafah as a “moral outrage and a criminal act”.
“The EU cannot be allowed to continue with its hands-off approach and must be spurred into action. How many more lives will have been lost before the Foreign Affairs Council meets again? How many more innocent civilians must suffer before the EU and the international community can be forced into action? Measures must be taken to stop the bloodshed.
“EU Ministers must change their approach and demand a ceasefire in the region to allow for meaningful talks to take place. Violence solves nothing, discussions and mediated negotiations are our only hope of a resolution to this decades old conflict. The current wave of aggression must be stopped and the EU, led by Ireland if necessary, should impose sanctions on goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. The EU needs to take a tougher, but united stance and prove that indiscriminate killings and maimings are not acceptable. It needs to go further than it has to date, and I am urging the Government here to play its part and seek a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council at the earliest possible date”.