Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
128. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether it was prudent to close the embassy in Tehran, Iran; the effect this closure has had in undermining the excellent work carried out by Ireland in the establishment of the Middle East resolution agreed at the non-proliferation treaty review and extension conference in 1995; if the closure of the Irish embassy in Tehran undermines Ireland’s ongoing work in seeking full implementation of that resolution at the upcoming NPT conference in Finland later this year. [13574/12]
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): As I have previously reported to this House, the decision to close the Embassy in Tehran was taken in light of the current pressures on public finances. It followed a careful review of our overseas diplomatic missions by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which paid particular attention to the economic return from bilateral missions. The Government remains committed to maintaining and developing our relations with Iran and intends to seek the appointment of a non-resident Ambassador. Full diplomatic relations with Iran will continue.
The Deputy can be assured that the decision to close the Tehran Embassy will not impact in any way upon Ireland’s ongoing work in support of implementing the Middle East Resolution agreed at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review and Extension Conference in 1995. My Department will continue its very active role in all related negotiations, both at the Conference in Finland, which we see as a very important step in the process towards a viable WMD free zone in the Middle East, and also throughout the upcoming NPT review cycle, which will assess progress in implementing all follow-on actions agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
The upcoming NPT review cycle will involve three Preparatory Committee meetings — at Vienna (2012), Geneva (2013) and New York (2014) — followed by a Review Conference in New York in 2015. Throughout this process, officials from Headquarters and the local Mission will participate and actively advance the Government’s position on all aspects of the NPT and its implementation, including the 1995 Resolution. We will also attend the Conference in Finland and support the facilitator, Ambassador Jaako Laajava of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, in his important work. My officials have already met with Ambassador Laajava to assist him in his preparations for the Conference.
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