Minister Donohoe to attend Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

12th May, 2014

The Minister for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe, is attending the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels today, which is expected to be dominated by the crisis in Ukraine.
Speaking in advance of the meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers, Minister Donohoe said:
“We will have a comprehensive discussion of the crisis in Ukraine. Crucial Presidential elections are to be held in less than two weeks, giving the people of Ukraine a direct say in their future.  Unfortunately, the political and security situation in the east of the country has deteriorated sharply over the past fortnight and there has been a tragic loss of life.  In view of this, and given the absence of any concrete steps by Moscow to de-escalate the situation, I expect the Council will consider the imposition of additional sanctions.”
“The continued kidnappings, killings and violation of media freedom by illegal armed groups is unacceptable and must stop. What is urgently needed now is an inclusive political process involving all parties to find a negotiated settlement to the crisis. As a first step, the Russian Federation must implement the terms of the Joint Declaration to which it agreed in Geneva on 17 April, but has so far failed to implement.  I welcome the efforts taken by the Ukrainian authorities in relation to constitutional reform and the proposed amnesty for those who peacefully leave the buildings they have seized in Eastern Ukraine.”  
“I look forward to hearing from President Burkhalter of Switzerland, in his capacity as Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He will brief us on his efforts to develop an agreed roadmap for the implementation of the Geneva Joint Statement of 17 April.”
Ministers will also have a discussion on the Middle East Peace Process. 
Minister Donohoe said: 
“Ireland’s position of support for a two-State solution is well known. We need to continue actively supporting all current peace efforts since it is only through negotiations that we will achieve the two-State solution. We wish to avoid further deterioration on the ground and that will require all sides to reflect seriously on what more needs to be done to bring about that negotiated two-State solution we all desire.”
Finally, the Council will have a strategic discussion on the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the need for it to respond to the new challenges in both Eastern and Southern Neighbourhoods of the European Union.