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Foreign Conflicts

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 20 November 2018

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Questions (110)

Clare Daly

Question:

110. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of discussions at EU level that are taking place in relation to the EU advocating for the withdrawal of foreign military powers from Syria in order to facilitate an end to the conflict in that country on the basis of dialogue between domestic political forces there. [48080/18]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland and the EU firmly believe that there can be no military solution to the Syria crisis. The misery caused by the long-running conflict in Syria has been further prolonged by military support which has been provided to the Assad regime. There are significant Iranian forces in Syria, which have been assisting the regime in the violent suppression of its own people. This is unhelpful and unwelcome. It is also quite clear that Russia’s support for the Assad regime has prolonged the suffering of the Syrian people. Russia has also repeatedly vetoed UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, which has seriously undermined the protection of Syrian civilians. Turkey has borne a heavy burden in terms of knock-on effects of the conflict, including hosting millions of refugees, as well as a risk of spill-over of violence and its concern about the conflict raging on its southern border is therefore understandable. Our messages to Turkey, in relation to its operations in Syria, have emphasised our overarching concern for the protection of civilians, including in the context of this particular operation, and urged caution to avoid escalating the conflict any further. Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of civilians on both sides of the border, especially displaced and vulnerable communities. The Syria crisis is high on the EU agenda, and was last discussed at the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Vienna in August, where EU support for the UN-led political negotiations to end the conflict was restated. EU Foreign Ministers met with the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan di Mistura, in the margins of the UN General Assembly in September this year, and reaffirmed our strong support for his work and that of his team. The EU provides direct assistance to the Geneva peace talks and has launched, in coordination with the UN, an initiative to develop political dialogue with key actors from the region to identify common ground.

The EU’s consistent position since the crisis began has been that the conflict can only be resolved by the Syrian people themselves. The UN Special Envoy’s work to bring about an end the conflict is undertaken in accordance with the 2012 Geneva Communiqué and UN Security Council resolution 2254, which are clear on the need for this to be a Syrian-led political process. We support UNSE di Mistura’s ongoing efforts to establish a constitutional committee, made up of Syrians of different political views, to chart the way forward for the country.

I take this opportunity to reiterate my unreserved condemnation of the violence perpetrated against civilians that has characterised the Syrian conflict to date. I have frequently called on all regional actors, and all those involved in the Syria conflict, to show restraint and avoid any escalation, which could further undermine regional stability, as well as adding to the suffering of civilians. I have also called on all parties with influence on the Syrian regime to exert that influence to ensure that civilians are protected, and to encourage the Syrian Government to engage fully with the UN-led peace process.

Question No. 111 answered with Question No. 106.
Question No. 112 answered with Question No. 108.
Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 100.
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