30 July 2009 Edition
PALESTINE: Sinn Féin delegations active in international dialogue on Middle East
Adams meets Palestinian and Israeli ambassadors
BY PAT SHEEHAN
GERRY ADAMS has met with the Palestinian Ambassador to Dublin and the Israeli Ambassador to London as part of Sinn Féin’s ongoing engagement with the Palestinian peace process and following a republican delegation’s visit to Gaza and the West Bank in April.
The Sinn Féin president also attended the recent AGM of the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Committee in Dublin and has also met with a number of other key people involved in the Middle East since his return from Gaza.
Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry Mac Lochlainn took part in an international aid convoy to Gaza in May.
The party also took up two invitations to participate in international discussions in Europe and the Middle East. The objectives were twofold: to share with others seeking to move out of conflict Sinn Féin’s experience and observations of the Irish Peace Process, and to learn as much as possible.
In June, Sinn Féin members Pat Sheehan (Middle East Desk) and Raymond McCartney MLA took part in a conference in Zurich organised by the groups Forward Thinking and Humanitarian Dialogue around the issue of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Also in attendance were senior representatives of Hamas, including a member of the government in Gaza. Other participants included a former ambassador for the United States; a former ambassador for Britain; a former special assistant to Bill Clinton; along with French, Peruvian, El Salvadorean and Swiss representatives.
In July, Sinn Féin representatives Pádraic Wilson (Director of International Relations), Pat Sheehan and Raymond McCartney travelled to the Middle East for a series of engagements organised by the London/Washington-based Conflicts Forum.
Accompanied by members of Conflicts Forum the Sinn Féin delegation met with senior representatives of Hizbullah and Hamas in Beirut and Damascus. The group also met with the South African Ambassador to Damascus.
As well as taking the opportunity to give an update on the current state of play in Ireland, the Sinn Féin group were able to hear directly from key players in the region. They presented all of those they met with copies of Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, April 2009 – A Report by Gerry Adams.
The broad steps outlined in the report underpinned the engagements Sinn Féin representatives participated in during the visit, including:–
- United Nations resolutions and international law should be enforced.
- All armed actions and acts of violence should cease;
- An inclusive process of negotiations should commence in which all democratic mandates are respected, clear objectives are set, and there is a fixed timeframe;
- The building of the Separation Wall should stop as a first step which would see its demolition;
- The siege of the Gaza Strip should end;
- An immediate and intensive programme of reconstruction and economic development must commence;
- The ongoing Israeli colonisation of the West Bank and the building of settlements should stop;
- The occupation of the West Bank and the denial of freedom of movement to Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, and between the West Bank and Gaza, should end as part of the process to decolonise the West Bank;
- Mutual and expeditious co-operation between Palestinians and Israelis to enhance public safety and security should commence.
• MEETING: Sinn Féin representatives Pádraic Wilson – Director International Relations, Pat Sheehan and Raymond McCartney with Khaled Meshal Head of Hamas Political Committee