Ireland calls for accountability for Syrian atrocities at EU Foreign Affairs Council
The Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton T.D., attended today’s meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.
The escalating violence in Syria was a key focus of the Ministers’ discussions. Minister Creighton expressed Ireland’s deep disappointment that the UN Security Council had been unable to agree a Chapter VII Resolution on the crisis. The Minister said:
“We believe that a strong Security Council Resolution - one that imposes an international arms embargo - remains absolutely essential if there is to be any prospect for the Annan Plan.”
Referring to the recent horrific massacre which was committed in the village of Tremseh on 12 July, Minister Creighton said:
“There needs to be accountability for all the atrocities which have occurred in Syria, including that in Tremseh. The EU again made clear today that those responsible must and will eventually be brought to justice”.
"Ireland remains particularly concerned with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country. All sides need to allow full and immediate access to UN and other international humanitarian organisations to address the critical needs on the ground and to respond to the escalating refugee crisis in the region."
Minister Creighton welcomed the decision of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to press ahead in strengthening the EU’s own arms embargo against Syria, including new measures which oblige EU States to inspect vessels and aircraft heading to Syria if they suspect the cargo contains arms or equipment for internal repression.
The Ministers also reviewed recent developments in Egypt and in Libya and reiterated their support for the transition to stable, functioning democracies in both countries.
The Council also discussed the situation in a number of African countries, including the ongoing tensions between Sudan and South Sudan. Ministers urged both sides to urgently implement the African Union Roadmap and the recent UN Security Council Resolution within the agreed deadline of 2 August.
In particular, Minister Creighton drew attention to the plight of some 169,000 Sudanese refugees in camps in South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity States, and called on the Government in Khartoum to comply with commitments already made to permit immediate unhindered humanitarian access to the affected populations:
“We are especially concerned at reports of ongoing restrictions in relation to humanitarian access to affected areas despite the acceptance by the Sudanese Government to the Tripartite Proposal to address this issue.”
Following the Council meeting, Minister Creighton attended Ministerial meeting of the Eastern Partnership. The Partnership brings together the 27 EU Member States with their six counterparts from Eastern Europe and the Caucasus in a formal framework of cooperation. The Eastern Partnership members are: Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. The Minister concluded:
"Stabilisation to the east of the Union's borders as well as the south is essential for continued stability in the region and importantly provides a forum for discussing visa agreements, free trade deals and strategic partnership agreements with the EU's eastern neighbours."