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Minister Shatter attends High Level Meetings in Israel and Ramallah on The Last Day of His Trip to the Middle East

During the course of several meetings Minister Shatter met with the Israeli Minister for Defence Mr. Moshe Ya’alon, the Israeli Justice Minister Ms. Tzipi Livni and Dr. Nabil Sha’ath, Commissioner for International Relations of Fateh, and Mr. Bob Turner Gaza Field Director, UNRWA.

In the course of these meetings the Minister discussed the overall security situation in the region, the implications of conflict in Syria and recent events in Egypt. Discussions also included the agreement of the P 5+1 with Iran and the prospects for progress in the Israeli/Palestinian peace process.

The Minister was also briefed on how Gaza has been affected by events over the past twelve months, action required to improve the circumstances of Palestinians living in Gaza and Israel’s continuing security concerns.

Minister Shatter said "The discussions were a valuable update and perspective on the current difficulties in the region, their impact on those affected and possible future outcomes"

The Minister continued" I have had very substantial discussions on a broad range of issues affecting the Middle East and in respect of areas in which Ireland has a direct interest, including the role of our troops in supporting peacekeeping in the Golan Heights and Southern Lebanon and Ireland's support for a two state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Matters relating to Gaza were also discussed."

Speaking following the meetings the Minister said "Ireland fully supports the talk’s process and hopes for a successful outcome". The Minister encouraged all sides to commit fully to the peace process and to seek to understand each others perspectives on issues and concerns with a view to reaching a successful outcome that would be acceptable to all parties.

Referring to the incident on the Golan Heights yesterday involving Irish troops deployed with UNDOF the Minister said that he had been fully briefed on Wednesday by Irish Commanders deployed with UNDOF and by the Head of Mission of UNTSO, Ireland's Major General Michael Finn in Jerusalem. All issues of relevance to the mission were discussed. Commenting the Minister noted that " we know that our troops were deployed to the Golan Heights at a time of increased instability but that they are fully trained and equipped to undertake their important duties on behalf of the United Nations. They remain fully committed to this task"

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