Minister Visits Gaza

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore, T.D. is visiting Gaza today where he will meet with the Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Filippo Grandi, and visit a number of UNRWA-operated schools and projects.

He will also meet with a number of non-governmental organisations dealing with human rights issues in Gaza as well as with local business men and women in order to hear about the continuing impact on the Gaza economy of the Israeli blockade.

The Tánaiste said: "The search for peace in the Middle East remains a core objective of Irish foreign policy. In my discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, I will be underlining Ireland's and the EU’s continuing strong desire to see substantive direct peace talks begin as soon as possible.

"We know well from our own experience how difficult the process of making peace can be, particularly taking the first crucial steps. It is encouraging that both sides have held a series of direct talks under the welcome auspices of the Jordanian government in recent weeks, in follow up to the framework for peace talks set out by the International Quartet last September.

"However, as I discussed with High Representative Ashton and my EU counterparts in Brussels earlier this week, we now need to build on this promising opening and encourage both sides to demonstrate real leadership and commitment to the process. In particular, there must be genuine efforts to build confidence on both sides and a willingness to desist from any actions, such as continuing settlement expansion, which impede the overall prospects for achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace, based on the two-State solution."


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