Minister Cowen meets with Richard Haass
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., met this afternoon with Richard Haass, President Bush's Ambassador at Large with overall responsibility for Ireland. Ambassador Haass last visited Dublin in November 2002.
The Minister and Ambassador Haass discussed recent developments in Northern Ireland, including the current round of talks. The Minister stressed that it is only by engagement and dialogue that it will be possible to build the necessary confidence, to resolve the outstanding issues and restore the devolved institutions as quickly as possible.
He reiterated the Government's commitment to charting a comprehensive way to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and emphasised the determination of the Government to continue to work closely with all those involved to address all outstanding matters. In this regard, the visit by the Taoiseach and Prime Minister Blair to Hillsborough next week would be an important staging post in the path to an overall acts of completion package.
The Minister took the opportunity to express the Government's appreciation for the ongoing support of President Bush and the US Administration for the peace process in Northern Ireland.
During their meeting, Ambassador Haass and Minister Cowen also exchanged views on current international issues, including Iraq and the Middle East.