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Minister Flanagan concludes Middle East visit in Cairo

International relations, Irish abroad, Ireland, Minister Charles Flanagan, International Law, Trade, Press Releases, Ireland, Middle East and North Africa, 2016

The meeting between the two Ministers covered a range of issues, including the bilateral relationship, the Middle East Peace Process and the challenges facing the wider region, in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

The case of Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa was discussed. Minister Flanagan said:

"I was pleased to meet again with Egypt's Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry.

"While the detail of our discussions is confidential, I know that case of Ibrahim Halawa is a matter of considerable concern to the public and to the Oireachtas.

"I made clear to Minister Shoukry the extent of the concern about and interest in the case in Ireland, while respecting the independence of the Egyptian judiciary.

"I emphasised the Government's goal remains to see Ibrahim returned to Ireland to resume his studies and, while the trial is ongoing, to provide every possible consular support for his welfare.

"I and my officials, in particular the staff of the Embassy in Cairo, will continue to work consistently toward these goals.

"The next public hearing in the case is scheduled for 29th June and it is my sincere hope that we can reach an early and satisfactory resolution to the case after a verdict is reached and see Ibrahim returned home to Ireland."

In Cairo, the Minister also met with the Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil Al Araby, and with Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who will succeed Mr. Al Araby as Secretary General at the beginning of next month. The main topic in both meetings was the Middle East Peace Process and, in particular, the French initiative aimed at injecting new momentum into the process.

"The Middle East Peace Process has been stalled for too long and, from what I have seen and heard over recent days, there is an increasing desire to get the process moving again.

"In this context, I support fully the renewed French efforts to lend momentum to the process. Having participated in the international conference on the Middle East Peace Process in Paris on 3 June and following my meetings this week in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo, I want to confirm that Ireland stands ready to support and work with the French Government over the coming weeks and months.

"I look forward to briefing my EU colleagues on my meetings when I meet them in Luxembourg on Monday at the Foreign Affairs Council."

ENDS
Press Office
17 June 2016