Minister for European Affairs, Dick Roche, T.D, calls for swift negotiations to establish a viable Palestinian State
The Minister said; “We meet in a unique forum, at a moment of possibility, but also danger, across the Middle East. The Barcelona Process was launched twelve years ago in the context of hopes for the region which were not sustained. A comprehensive regional settlement is now more urgently needed than at any point in the past sixty years – and there are no unilateral or military options which can deliver it”.
“Today, there is a genuine opportunity to restore credibility to the peace process. The time has come to move to negotiations on final status issues, and to give hope to those who have heard for so long that we want the establishment of a viable Palestinian State. We must demonstrate our support for those Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the courage and vision to take the difficult decisions and make the painful compromises required in the months ahead”.
Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr. Dick Roche, T.D, this
morning addressed the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers meeting
in Lisbon, on the subject of the EU's relations and cooperation
with its southern neighbours.
In relation to the European Union, Minister Roche asserted that it; “will meet its obligation to provide substantial political, economic and security support. The restoration of credibility to the search for a comprehensive settlement can transform the region, and the lives of its people. It would also generate a new sense of social, economic and cultural opportunity for our Eurmed Partnership”.
The Minister stated; “it is arguable that, over time, the Process has become institutionalised and bureaucratic. But the reality is that strong institutional links between the countries on either side of the Mediterranean are indispensable, because, no matter what their political differences may be, our people face common challenges and our young people share common ambitions. Our purpose is to provide those young men and women with the opportunity to play their part in shaping our common future”.
On the topic of cooperation at Ministerial level, Minister Roche said; “I believe that we must also examine whether we are succeeding in communicating the value of the Euromed Partnership to our citizens. In tackling complex issues of institutional reform within the European Union, we have learned that effective communication with our citizens is not an optional add-on. It is an essential element in the development of effective institutional arrangements between States”.
“We in Ireland were pleased to host the Euromed seminar this May on the media and terrorism. It generated heated discussion on the challenges and opportunities offered by the ever-growing communications revolution. We do not underestimate the dangers posed by those who cynically use that revolution to twist minds for sectarian purposes. Our main challenge, however, is to harness the positive energies which are being released – to build and educate, to promote investment in human capital, and to begin to overcome barriers of ignorance and prejudice which have separated our peoples in the past. The Barcelona Process has a major role to play in encouraging freedom of expression and the sharing of knowledge based on true respect for each other’s beliefs and customs”.
The Minister closed his address by stating that; “2008 has been designated the year of Intercultural Dialogue. The emphatic challenge for our Process now is to bring that dialogue from the conference halls to our citizens”.
Note to Editors:
The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, commonly known as the Barcelona Process (from its foundation meeting in 1995) is the principal framework for the EU's relations and cooperation with its southern neighbours. As well as the 27 EU members, it includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Individual Association Agreements between the EU and each country provide for specific assistance and dialogue activities.
Barcelona partners meet annually at Foreign Ministers level to discuss political issues of common interest and the Process has played an important role as a venue bringing together Israel and its neighbours and other Arab states. At sectoral level, the Process brings together Ministers and officials in a wide range of areas, including science and technology, health, immigration, culture, etc.
Ireland hosted a EuroMed seminar in May 2007 on the theme of the media and terrorism (held in Croke Park).
6th November 2007