Taoiseach to attend the EU-Arab summit in Egypt
First ever such summit to be held will be attended by 49 countries from the regions
Ireland has strong links with a number of Arab League states, through trade, our peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East and our significant expat communities in the Gulf, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said in advance of the EU-Arab summit.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is to attend the first ever summit between the EU and the Arab League in Egypt on Sunday.
Representatives of all 28 EU member states are to attend the event in Sharm El-Sheikh, including British prime minister Theresa May, along with 21 members of the League of Arab States.
The summit will be co-chaired by EU Council President Donald Tusk and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and will consider how to strengthen cooperation on issues of mutual interest. These include regional peace and stability, migration, human rights, counter-terrorism, trade, economic development and climate action.
Events are due to begin on Sunday evening with an opening ceremony and plenary session, followed by an official dinner.
On Monday, two further plenary sessions are planned and the summit is expected to conclude in the afternoon.
Mr Varadkar will make a formal statement during the plenary sessions, and is expected to highlight Ireland’s priorities and perspective on a range of foreign policy issues. He will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with EU and Arab leaders.
“This is the first time that leaders from EU member states and the Arab League have come together in this format to discuss shared priorities,” the Taoiseach said, speaking in advance of the summit.
“Ireland has strong links with a number of Arab League states, through trade, our peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East and our significant expat communities in the Gulf.”
He said we would soon open new embassies in Amman and Rabat.
“Although we do not agree on everything, this summit will provide an important opportunity for open dialogue on how we can enhance the Euro-Arab partnership and take on regional challenges, including cooperation on migration, security and counter-terrorism,” Mr Varadkar said.
“While Brexit is not on the agenda for the summit, the event will provide me with the opportunity to discuss latest developments with many of my EU counterparts who will be in attendance.”