I have reported on the visit of President Abbas and discussions with him in an earlier Reply today.
Ireland has consistently acted at EU level to ensure that the European Union retains a focus on the Israel-Palestine issue, in parallel to our engagement on other conflicts and crises across the Middle East region, and elsewhere. I am concerned to note that the prospects for an Israel/Palestine peace agreement are not optimistic, and the conditions on the ground for Palestinians are worsening progressively.
I have raised the subject myself at the Foreign Affairs Council and with other Council members, and Ireland is also very active at diplomatic level in Brussels and in the region. Other EU partners are also very active on this issue. Fields for EU action include political support for the peace process, action on the ground to mitigate the damaging effects of the occupation, and humanitarian assistance in Gaza and other areas. I have made this issue a personal priority, visiting the region three times to date, and working on specific projects to improve the situation of Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.
The Foreign Affairs Council in recent months has discussed the Israel-Palestine issue at its meetings in January, February and May, and the informal Foreign Ministers’ meeting at the end of August. I am sure it will continue to feature regularly on the agenda.