Palestinian president to visit Ireland next weekend

Mahmoud Abbas takes up invite extended when he met Simon Coveney in Ramallah in January

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the president’s office in the West Bank city of Ramallah in January. File photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the president’s office in the West Bank city of Ramallah in January. File photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP.

 

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is to visit Ireland next weekend, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said.

Mr Abbas has accepted an invitation extended to him by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney when the pair met in Ramallah in January.

He and a Palestinian delegation will stop in Ireland on their way to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr Abbas is scheduled to make a courtesy visit to President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin and to meet Mr Coveney at Farmleigh across the Phoenix Park.

“Among the topics expected to be discussed are the humanitarian and security situation in Gaza and the West Bank; the funding crisis for UNRWA, the UN agency providing food, education and health services in Gaza; and the future of the Middle East Peace Process,” the department said.

When the two met in January, Mr Coveney reaffirmed Ireland’s support for Jerusalem being recognised as the future capital of Palestine, telling Mr Abbas that he thought the Trump administration’s decision to recognise the city as the capital of Israel was a bad move for Middle East peace.

The Tánaiste reiterated the Government’s support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: to set up an independent Palestinian state side by side with Israel.