Written answers

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Department of Foreign Affairs

Middle East Peace Process

9:00 pm

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin South East, Fianna Fail)
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Question 311: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40492/09]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Government does not consider that trade or other embargoes on Israel would contribute to the search for peace in the Middle East. I have made it clear that there is no prospect of reaching consensus at EU level in favour of such a policy. In these circumstances, to link this issue with the discussion of the Goldstone report serves to make more difficult a clear and constructive discussion on the report and the important issues it addresses. The Government has made it clear, in debates at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and the United Nations General Assembly in New York, its support for the Goldstone report as a serious investigation which needs to be considered carefully and acted on. Ireland was one of five EU member states which voted in favour of the resolution on the report at the General Assembly last week. I have made clear my view that there must be accountability for actions taken.

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin South East, Fianna Fail)
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Question 312: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the recommendation in a report (details supplied) that the perpetrators of the war crimes be subject to trial by International and National Courts under universal jurisdiction. [40493/09]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Government has made it clear in international debates at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and most recently at the UN General Assembly in New York, that it supports the Goldstone report and attaches importance to it. Ireland was one of five EU member states to vote in support of the resolution on the report at the UN General Assembly last week. The report is a complex and detailed document. Its recommendations cover wide-ranging actions in many national and international fora, with wide and far-reaching political and legal implications. In common with many countries, we will need to consider carefully these implications before agreeing on the best way forward on these crucial issues. In the first instance, the report calls for the parties to the Gaza conflict to institute credible and transparent investigations into the alleged breaches of international law which it details, investigations which are in conformity with international standards and which can command confidence. We fully support the report's recommendations in this regard. The other recommendations, including that referred to by the Deputy, are put forward as alternative mechanisms if those investigations do not take place. They would need to be considered at that stage, if necessary.

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