"Good Friday Agreement Represents the Only Acceptable Way Forward" - Cowen Addresses Diplomatic Corps
In his first address to Ambassadors since taking up office, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., has called for "a creative, flexible and generous approach from all sides involved in issues in Northern Ireland, for an end to recrimination and a return to genuine dialogue". The Minister was speaking at the annual diplomatic corps lunch in Iveagh prior to his departure for talks in Belfast with the U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser, Jim Steinberg.
"Together with the British Government and the parties I know that we can find a way through", the Minister said. "And I know we will continue to rely on the extraordinary encouragement and support which we continue to receive from the international community".
In a wide ranging address the Minister promised that, in addition to immediate humanitarian assistance for Mozambique, Ireland will give priority to reconstruction and recovery projects there once the terrible situation has stabilised. "Having made dramatic progress in recent years to overcome the legacy of civil war, they are literally seeing their efforts washed away by flood waters", the Minister said. He added that the case is now even more urgent for accelerated relief for the many developing countries crippled by the burden of debt.
On the question of EU enlargement, the Minister said that Ireland's approach to the forthcoming InterGovernmental Conference will be to ensure that the Union is ready to cope with the admission of up to 12 new members and that the essential institutional balances underpinning the Union are maintained and respected. "We will press hard to ensure that the right of each Member State to nominate a Commissioner is maintained", he said. "Enlargement will have positive consequences throughout this century in terms of stability and improved living standards for all of the people of Europe".
Minister Cowen availed of the opportunity to thank the many Governments who have declared support for Ireland's candidacy next October for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. "Our commitment to the United Nations has been, and will remain, at the centre of Ireland's foreign policy", he said. "Ireland has always endeavoured to enhance the UN's work, especially in the areas of peace-keeping, disarmament, development aid and human rights".