Written answers

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Conflicts

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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136. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has been in contact with his EU colleagues regarding the escalating crisis in Iraq; the outcome of these discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26089/14]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The current situation in Iraq represents a grave threat both to Iraqi sovereignty and to the stability of the wider region. The armed group behind these attacks, ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria), is a violent, fundamentalist movement, which has committed numerous atrocities in Syria and Iraq. They are very clear in their intent to overthrow regional states and to impose a draconian rule across much of the Middle East. They represent above all a threat to the security and human rights of all in the Middle East, with no respect for the position of women or minority communities. There have already been a number of reports from both Syria and Iraq of horrendous attacks perpetrated by ISIS against Christian communities in both countries. I also condemn and call for the immediate release of the eighty Turkish nationals, including diplomatic personnel, whom ISIS have taken hostage in Mosul. The offensive by ISIS and its allies in Iraq was discussed at the Ministerial meeting of the EU and League of Arab States which took place in Athens on 10-11 June. The Minister of State for European Affairs, Pascal Donohoe T.D., represented Ireland at the meeting which agreed a joint statement condemning these events and calling for all democratic forces in Iraq to work together and for the restoration of security to Iraq. I anticipate that I will also be discussing developments in Iraq with my colleagues at the Foreign Affairs Council next week in Luxembourg.

The Iraqi authorities have a clear duty to restore order and protect the safety of all citizens, Shia, Sunni, Kurds and Christians. The peaceful conduct of parliamentary elections in April reflect the deep wish of the Iraqi people to have a democratic State, governed under the rule of law. It is critical that Iraqi political leaders live up to these ambitions and work together to bring this instability and terrorism to an end, including through early agreement on formation of a new government.

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