Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (249)

Enda Kenny

Question:

366 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will indicate the view of the Government and of his Presidency of the European Council on the building of a dividing wall by the Israeli Government on the basis of prevention of Palestinian terrorism; his views on the fact that such construction will exasperate the situation; the action and initiative the proposes to take both as Minister for Foreign Affairs and as the President of the European Council on this matter; the initiatives that Ireland proposes to take in respect of the development of the peace road map; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1877/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

Ireland's position on the building of the separation barrier by the Israelis was set out in Resolution A/RES/ES-10/13 of the UN General Assembly adopted on 21 October last. This resolution was sponsored by Ireland and our partners in the European Union and demands that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in and around east Jerusalem, which is in departure of the armistice line of 1949 and is in contradiction to relevant provisions of international law.

I visited Israel and Egypt for discussions on 14-18 January and intend visiting the region again later in the Presidency. As European Union representative in the international quartet, Ireland will attach a high priority to advancing the road map. During my talks in Israel, I suggested that small, concrete and visible steps should be taken by both sides to restore trust and revive the peace process. I also raised the question of the separation barrier. I reiterated our concern about the building of such a structure in the occupied Palestinian territories and made the point also to Israeli interlocutors that it did not serve Israel's long-term security interests.