'Appalling' civilian massacres in Syria
JOINT COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE:IT WAS increasingly difficult to put into words the “sheer horror and revulsion” inspired by current events in Syria, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade at Leinster House.
Mr Gilmore, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs, was briefing the committee on the Government’s approach to the agenda of the EU Foreign Affairs Council at its meeting on Monday next.
There had been “appalling massacres” of innocent civilians and there had to be accountability for such atrocities. “That is why I and the Government fully support those calls which have been made for the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.”
He called on the UN Security Council to adopt a “strong resolution” providing for sanctions, including an arms embargo, unless there was compliance by the Assad regime and the opposition with the Annan peace plan.
On the Middle East peace process, Mr Gilmore said the foreign affairs council had in May made “an important and forceful statement” of EU concerns about a range of Israeli policies and other issues. “These include settlements, movement restrictions, pressures to force Palestinians out of Area C and East Jerusalem, settler violence, the continuing blockade of Gaza and more.”
On the imprisonment of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Mr Gilmore said the council had conveyed to Kiev that the EU valued closer association but would need to see a resolution of the issue of politically motivated trials, including that of former prime minister Ms Tymoshenko, and the “fair and transparent” conduct of next October’s parliamentary elections.
Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan said there seemed to be a “wall of silence” surrounding the imprisonment of Ms Tymoshenko.
Senator David Norris said the efforts of Kofi Annan in Syria were a “total and absolute waste of time”. Replying to comments from members, the Tánaiste said the latest suicide bombing underlined the “urgency and necessity” of a ceasefire in Syria.