Speaking before the meeting Minister McEntee stated:
“This meeting is an important opportunity for EU Ministers to hold informal discussions on the global developments, and on how the EU can engage effectively on the foreign policy challenges facing us.
“We will discuss the conflict in Syria, which has been extremely destabilising for the wider region. A comprehensive, inclusive political solution is urgently required to end the suffering of the Syrian people, and all parties must exercise restraint in order to avoid any further deterioration. We fully supports the UN-led political negotiations to end the conflict. Ireland has contributed over €90 million to the humanitarian response to the Syria crisis; our largest contribution to a single crisis in recent years. The EU and its member states have mobilised over €9.5 billion, making the EU the largest single donor to the effort.
“This meeting will be a good opportunity to build on the very useful discussions I had with the potential candidate and candidate countries during my recent visit to the Western Balkans. Ireland welcomed the recent EU strategy on the Western Balkans, and we will welcome those countries which are prepared to take on the responsibilities of membership. We remain convinced of the value of EU membership in bringing about stability and security.
“EU Foreign Ministers will also discuss developments in DPRK. Recent inter-Korean dialogue is to be welcomed, and the attendance of a DPRK delegation at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and plans to hold military talks between the two sides are also positive steps. However the situation on the Korean peninsula continues to be of grave concern. North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests in 2017 represent a major challenge to international efforts to advance global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Ireland supports the resumption of the Six Party Talks on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, immediately and without pre-conditions. The human rights situation in the DPRK is also of grave concern”.