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Ireland will remain strong EU member, says Foreign Minister on Middle East trip

Published 14/11/2016

Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan in Riyadh (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/PA)
Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan in Riyadh (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/PA)

Ireland's Foreign Minister has pledged to underline the country's commitment to the European Union during a visit to the Middle East.

Charlie Flanagan is in Abu Dhabi for the second day of his three-day tour of the Gulf, leading an Enterprise Ireland trade mission.

He said: "My visit is timely as it offers an opportunity to bring clear messages to important partners in the Gulf about Ireland's position in the wake of the UK vote to leave the European Union.

"I made clear that Ireland will remain a strong and active member of the Union."

The minister is expected to meet with the UAE's minister for foreign affairs, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and with the country's education minister, Hussain Ibrahim al Hammadi.

He will also meet with Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

On Saturday, in Riyadh, he held a series of bilateral meetings to discuss a range of issues including the stalled Middle East peace process and the humanitarian impact of conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

"These are issues of concern to the Irish people," added Mr Flanagan.

"With the minister of state for education, I had an opportunity to discuss the possibility of increasing the number of Saudi students coming to study in Ireland's universities and institutes of technology around the country."

He also took part in a number of commercial events to support Irish companies.

"I welcome the opportunity to see first-rate Irish companies at work, and to support them in their efforts to secure new business and so support jobs at home," said the minister.

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