Cowen Meets Palestinian Minister
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Brian Cowen TD, held discussions this morning with Dr Nabil Sha'ath, Palestinian Minister for Planning and International Cooperation. Minister Shaath briefed the Minister on the latest situation in Palestine and developments since Prime Minister Sharon took office in Israel.
The Minister shared Palestinian concern at the effect of Israeli closure policy on the Palestinian economy and at continued settlement-building. These activities made a return to a peaceful situation all the more difficult to bring about. Both Ministers emphasised the need for an end to violence and a resumption of peace negotiations, building on the substance of what had been achieved in earlier Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement.
The Minister said he would raise these issues this weekend at the Stockholm European Council. The Minister also referred to Ireland's active engagement on these issues at the UN Security Council.