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Sinn Féin call upon Irish Presidency to support the suspension of preferential trade with Israel

5 May, 2004

Sinn Féin EU candidate for the Dublin constituency Mary Lou McDonald has called upon the Irish Presidency to "support the suspension of preferential trade with Israel because of human rights violations from that state".

Speaking before a two-day meeting (5th-6th May) of the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers at Dublin Castle, Ms McDonald urged the Foreign Minister Brian Cowen to raise the issue of suspending trade with Israel, until there is an end to human rights violations and the occupation of Palestine.

Ms McDonald commented:

"The two-day meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in Dublin, provides the Irish Presidency, and in particular Minister Cowen, the opportunity to call for the suspension of preferential trade with Israel, because of their continuing human-rights violations of the Palestinian people and territories.

"The EU-Israel Association Agreement grants Israel favourable trading terms with the EU. This agreement includes a clause, which says that it is based on respect for human rights and democratic principles. However, the reality is that Israel continues to build walls of separation and support illegal settlements on Palestinian land, and it continues to ignore numerous United Nations resolutions on its illegal occupation of Palestine.

"Throughout the EU, 275 politicians have supported the calls for trade sanctions. My Sinn Féin colleagues in the Dail have already signed a petition to impose such sanctions. I urge the Irish Presidency to use its influence to call for trade sanctions against Israel." ENDS

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