I have given a high priority to the Middle East Peace Process since my appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2017, and I continue to do so in the current Government. I have made four working visits to the region, most recently in December 2019.
This priority is set out in the Programme for Government, which states that the Government will “Maintain and build our relationships with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and remain active on the Middle East Peace Process. Ireland’s longstanding support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain an integral aspect of our foreign policy and we will continue to build consensus at EU level to take a more proactive approach in supporting a negotiated two-state solution and lasting peace process”.
Ireland remains ready to support any peace initiative that respects the international parameters for a two-state solution and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and provides a basis to meet the aspirations of both peoples.
The Middle East Peace Process is regularly discussed in meetings of EU Foreign Ministers. On 19 November, I participated in a discussion with the Palestinian Foreign Minister along with EU Foreign Ministers. This was an important opportunity to discuss our shared concern regarding recent settlement expansion plans and demolitions of Palestinian property, discuss the road ahead towards the holding of Palestinian elections and how negotiations to bring about a peaceful settlement based on a two-state solution can be resumed. On 27 August, I participated in a discussion with the Israeli Foreign Minister during an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers. The EU’s firm commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict was conveyed to Foreign Minister Ashkenazi, in addition to the EU’s welcoming of Israel’s suspension of annexation plans.
Ireland will continue to work with international partners on this issue including, as we prepare to take up our seat on the UN Security Council in January 2021.