11. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the recent meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11077/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I attended the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on 26 February. The Council discussed developments in Moldova, the situation in Venezuela and the Middle East Peace Process.EU Foreign Ministers had a comprehensive discussion on Moldova and adopted Council Conclusions taking stock of the reform process and setting out expectations for the period ahead. Ministers also discussed developments in Venezuela, expressing deep concern at the deteriorating humanitarian, economic, political and social situation. During the discussion on the Middle East Peace Process, I updated my EU counterparts on my recent meetings in Washington with US Secretary of State Tillerson and Jared Kushner. I urged that the EU play a strong and proactive role in any new peace initiative and encouraged the Palestinians and other regional interlocutors to engage constructively on this. EU Ministers met over lunch with Foreign Ministers from Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, and the discussion focussed on the Middle East Peace Process.