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Cowen's weak-willed response to US policy shift on Palestine regrettable and irresponsible

15 April, 2004


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has described Brian Cowen's comments in relation to the meeting between President Bush and the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as lending "unacceptable legitimacy to Israel's continued illegal occupation of Palestine." He said Minister Cowen's comments "did not reflect the overwhelming views of the Irish people" and questioned whether they actually represented the views of the EU for whom Mr Cowen claims he was speaking.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Yesterday's declaration by the US President in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is short-sighted, ill-judged and counter-productive. It displays an overwhelming bias towards Israel that does not augur well for that process.

"Brian Cowen's weak-willed response therefore is not only regrettable but actually serves to further undermine the Quartet's roadmap. By failing to issue even the faintest reprimand he is effectively endorsing the US policy shift which not only jeopardises the prospect of a negotiated settlement but also lends unacceptable legitimacy to Israel's continued illegal occupation of Palestine.

"It is the height of irresponsibility and completely contradictory to on one hand accept the US's predetermination of the outcome of negotiations and on the other hand to support the need for negotiations to continue. Obviously such negotiations would be meaningless if the outcome is already pre-determined.

"These confused and mixed messages from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs do not reflect the overwhelming views of the Irish people and I would question whether they actually represent the views of the EU for whom Minister Cowen isspeaking under the auspices of the EU Presidency." ENDS

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