Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Questions (44, 45)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

44. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the situation in the Ukraine continues to be monitored by the EU and the international community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28720/14]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

45. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the EU continues to liaise with the Russian authorities in the context of ongoing issues in eastern Ukraine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28721/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 45 together.

The situation in Ukraine is a priority for the EU and we continue to monitor the situation there closely. Member States are resolved to do all they can to help facilitate an inclusive and negotiated settlement and have actively engaged in efforts to promote dialogue between all sides, including the Russian Federation, since the outset of the crisis. Now that the EU’s relationship with Ukraine has been strengthened by the signature of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area at the European Council on Friday, it is important that we continue to actively encourage progress towards peace and stability.

Ukraine was a major focus of discussions both at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 23 June and at the European Council on Friday of last week. The Foreign Affairs Council, which I attended, was briefed on recent developments in Ukraine by its newly-appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin, while President Poroshenko met with EU Heads of State and Government during the European Council on Friday. The EU used these occasions to voice its strong support for President Poroshenko’s 15-point peace plan, which was announced on 20 June, and to encourage all sides to adhere to the ceasefire that was unilaterally declared by the Ukrainian Government.

I welcome the positive role played by EU leaders in promoting dialogue between the Government of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. On Sunday, Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande engaged in a two-hour telephone conversation with President Poroshenko and President Putin in order to promote progress towards the full implementation of the peace plan. The EU institutions have also played a constructive role in facilitating dialogue. In particular, the Commission chaired talks between Russia and Ukraine on the issue of gas supplies last month. Although the parties have yet failed to reach an agreement, the EU Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger, has contacted both sides in recent days to encourage them to return to the negotiating table.

The European Council last Friday also expressed its support for the OSCE monitoring of the implementation of the peace plan in Ukraine as well as for its role in supporting the ceasefire and the establishment of effective border controls. Nationally, Ireland is providing €100,000 to OSCE activities in Ukraine and has contributed significant numbers of personnel to OSCE projects, including five members of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and 16 observers of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission which oversaw the Presidential elections on 25 May.