Andrews meets with Foreign Minister Halonen in advance of Finnish EU Presidency
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews TD, met this morning with Finnish
Foreign Minister, Ms. Tarja Halonen. The meeting took place in advance of Finland assuming the Presidency of the European Union for the first time.
Minister Andrews and Minister Halonen discussed a range of issues including Kosovo, Russia and East Timor, as well as peacekeeping and security questions.
In relation to Kosovo, Minister Andrews welcomed the recent resolution of the crisis. "There is a need for the international community to continue to provide for the immediate needs of the civilian population, both inside and outside Kosovo. As you know, Ireland has taken its initial quota of over one thousand refugees and we will continue to provide them with protection until such time as they feel safe in returning home" said Minister Andrews.
The Ministers discussed the objectives of the Finnish EU Presidency. Minister Andrews raised several institutional matters and, in relation to Kosovo, stressed the role of the EU in getting under way civil implementation of the peace plan.
Minister Andrews briefed Minister Halonen fully on developments in relation to Northern Ireland. He expressed appreciation for the contribution made by Finland to the peace process including the participation of Prime Minister Hari Halkiri in the talks and of Brigadier Tauno Neimenen in the International Commission for Decommissioning.