Written Answers. - Ministerial Travel.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

18 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the incoming ministerial and related visits he anticipates over the next 12 months. [25472/99]

I assume the Deputy is referring to visits to Ireland of Ministers for Foreign Affairs or related visits, for example, by senior members of international organisations.

It is usual international practice for a Minister for Foreign Affairs to make a number of visits abroad each year and to invite ministerial and organisational counterparts to visit Ireland. The pattern of such visits takes account of developments in bilateral relations, current international issues and the diary commitments of both host and visitor.

In the context of the European Union, we would expect foreign ministerial or related visits from Portugal and France, who will each hold the presidency of the Council of Ministers in 2000.

We are also currently exploring possibilities in the next 12 months regarding incoming visits at foreign ministerial level from Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Chile and Denmark.

Visits might also occur in the context of Ireland's presidency of the Council of Europe.