Minister Cowen speaks with Israeli Foreign Minister
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen TD, made contact with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr. Shimon Peres, by telephone this afternoon, Tuesday 2 April.
The Minister spoke to Mr. Peres personally in order to emphasise the need for Israel to permit consular access by Irish officials to Irish nationals stranded in Ramallah and other Palestinian towns closed by the Israeli security forces.
Minister Cowen requested that his Israeli counterpart use his position to ensure that Irish and other EU consular officers be permitted to enter the Palestinian Territories for the purpose of escorting out of the Territories any of their citizens who wished to leave, as had already been proposed by the EU to the Israeli authorities.
The Minister asked that this should be done as quickly as possible in view of the highly dangerous situation which has arisen. Foreign Minister Peres undertook to see what could be done to facilitate the Minister's request.
Minister Cowen also expressed his deep sympathy at the horrific terrorist attacks carried out against Israeli civilians. The Minister voiced his support for Secretary General Kofi Annan's statement to the Security Council and repeated his question as to how the parties could be persuaded to move from the logic of war to the logic of peace.
The Minister said that prompt action should be taken to give effect to Security Council Resolution 1402, adopted on 30 March, which calls on both sides to move immediately to a meaningful cease-fire and for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian cities, as well as to cooperate fully with General Zinni in implementing the Tenet and Mitchell plans.