This statement was issued Wed August 13th 2014
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”.