Micheál Martin heading to Middle East amid ‘intensive efforts’ to tackle regional crisis

Tánaiste will meet ministers in Egypt and Jordan to discuss Israel-Hamas ceasefire, release of hostages and humanitarian aid for Gaza

Tánaiste Micheál Martin will travel to Egypt and Jordan over the coming days as part of “intensive efforts” to address the crisis in the Middle East.

Mr Martin, who is also the Minister for Foreign Affairs, will meet Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo and Jordanian deputy prime minister and foreign minister Ayman Safadi in Amman.

He will also meet humanitarian partners at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, and visit Unrwa (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency) programmes supporting Palestinian refugees in Jordan.

Speaking in advance of the visit, Mr Martin said against a backdrop of increased regional instability, “we cannot lose sight of the urgency of addressing the current crisis in Gaza and the wider Israeli/Palestinian issue”.


“My visit to Egypt and Jordan will focus on continuing my discussions with key partners on the need for an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages and full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza,” he said.

“I will also focus on how Ireland can support regional efforts to return to a political pathway towards a sustainable and peaceful resolution of this conflict and a two-state solution.”

The Tánaiste said the Government would continue discussions on how it and other “like-minded countries in Europe” could support the resolution of the conflict, including through the recognition of a Palestinian state and support for UN membership for Palestine.

“It is vital that we use any political capital that we have to generate momentum for a comprehensive regional peace, along the lines envisaged by the Arab peace plan,” he said. “A two-state solution remains the only vision of the future that can ensure peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The Fianna Fáil leader added the situation in Gaza remains “extremely grave” and that he would use his visit to the Rafah crossing to highlight the impact of “ongoing Israeli restrictions on humanitarian access”.

“Up to 1.5 million people are sheltering in Rafah and the humanitarian consequences of any Israeli military operation in the area would be disastrous,” he added.

“It is vital at such a moment of humanitarian need and regional instability to demonstrate clear and unwavering support for the work of Unrwa, which remains the backbone of the humanitarian response in Gaza and a pillar of regional stability.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times