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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018
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Coveney to discuss 'troubling events in Gaza' with EU foreign ministers

The Tánaiste is due to go to Palestine and Israel next week.

Palestinian protesters carry a wounded person during clashes with Israeli troops near the Gaza-Israel border on Friday.
Palestinian protesters carry a wounded person during clashes with Israeli troops near the Gaza-Israel border on Friday.
Image: Khaled Omar/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

TÁNAISTE AND MINISTER for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney is in Brussels today to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council will discuss Gaza, Iran, Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the EU’s partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Coveney said ministers will, at his request, discuss “the recent troubling events in Gaza”.

“I am deeply concerned about the force used against protesters, and I will discuss with my fellow ministers how we might work towards breaking the cycle of violence and improving conditions for people living in Gaza.

“I will be travelling to the region next week, including to Israel and Palestine, where I intend to raise these issues,” Coveney said.

Mass protests and clashes began on 30 March along the fence separating Gaza and Israel.

At least 119 Palestinians have been killed since the clashes broke out, according to figures from Gaza’s health ministry. No Israelis have been killed during that time.

Low-level demonstrations along the border have continued since protests peaked on 14 May, when at least 61 Palestinians were killed as tens of thousands of Gazans protested the US transfer of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israel has said its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop mass incursions into its territory. It accuses Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.

The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli blockade for more than a decade.

Iran deal

Ministers at the meeting in Brussels will also discuss the Iran nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the US recently pulled out of.

Coveney said Ireland and the EU “will continue to fully support the JCPOA as long as Iran abides by its commitments, which it is doing”.

He added that the European Union and the United States “share many core values, but there are sometimes issues on which we have different views, and this is one such issue”.

“We must work in a spirit of cooperation with our American partners to find a workable solution to the current situation,” he stated.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2018 

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Órla Ryan

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