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Tanaiste raises Syria with UN Secretary

Emergencies, News/feature, Syria, 2012

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in New York this afternoon.

The two discussed some of the major issues facing the international community at the current session of the United Nations General Assembly.  The Tánaiste delivered Ireland's national statement to the General Assembly yesterday [http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=88065]. 

The Tánaiste commended the Secretary General on the leadership he has provided in relation to Syria. He reiterated Ireland's frustration, and that of many in the international community, at the inability of the Security Council to adopt a unified position.  He called for a Chapter VII Resolution imposing a comprehensive arms embargo on all sides and for referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, as absolutely necessary to halt the flow of arms and for increased pressure for the fighting to end.  

On the Middle East Peace Process he agreed with the Secretary General the pressing need for the parties to engage seriously with the Quartet and to re-energise the discussions leading to a negotiated and just settlement to the conflict.  The Tánaiste stressed the importance of focusing on critical issues on the ground which could make peace impossible to achieve if they are not checked.

In his capacity as Chairman-In-Office of the Organization of Security Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) the Tánaiste thanked the Secretary General for the close cooperation and assistance between the two organisations over the course of the Irish Chairmanship. He referred to the forthcoming Ministerial meeting of the OSCE in Dublin in December and his hope that this would launch a process by which the OSCE can maximise the effectiveness of its cooperation with key partner organisations, especially the UN. 

Ireland will take on the role of EU Presidency in the first half of next year and will be working closely with the UN across a range of issues.  A major priority will be developing a common EU position in advance of the review on the UN's Millennium Development Goals in 2013.  The Tánaiste and the Secretary General welcomed the close linkages between the development work of the UN and that of Irish Aid in the areas of food and nutrition security, human rights, gender equality, and humanitarian aid, and they looked forward to greater cooperation in these areas.  

The Secretary General thanked Ireland for its longstanding commitment to the work of the United Nations, in particular its peacekeeping operations and the Tánaiste confirmed the Irish Government's full commitment to the continuation of that close cooperation in the period ahead.