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Ireland supports independence of ICC, says minister

The Minister for European Affairs has said it was vital for the International Criminal Court (ICC) be allowed to continue its work on the issue of possible arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister and Defence Minister, as well as senior Hamas figures.

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said the request by the ICC prosecutor for arrest warrants would have no bearing on Ireland’s imminent plans to recognise the state of Palestine.

“The independence of the court is what’s important. From an Irish perspective, we support the court, we help fund the court, we support the independence of the court and its processes,” she told reporters on arrival at a meeting of EU Europe ministers in Brussels.

She said ICC prosecutor Karim Khan had done “a very substantial body of work” and had come to the conclusion that the court should prosecute both sides of the ongoing conflict.

She added: “The question around Ireland recognising the state of Palestine is a much longer term project, recognising that we would like to see a political solution in the medium and long term, which we believe is the only resolution to this conflict.

“Of course, it’s not the first time that this concept has been discussed before – going back for many, many years, back to 1948, 1967 and the Oslo Accords, the two-state solution has always been the dream [and] has always been the objective.”

She said the path to date has not worked and Ireland, along with others, would like to take a more substantive step towards a genuine political process that has a two-state solution, which, she said, required the recognition of both states.

She said: “I don’t think the two [issues] are connected and I don’t believe they’ll impact each other in any way.”

She said Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Michéal Martin had been very clear that recognition would happen this month and that Ireland was coordinating as best it could with other EU member states, “recognising their domestic political processes may be different to ours, their domestic sensitivities, and their timings may be different to ours.”

Govt believes in two-state solution – Harris

The Taoiseach has said he respects the independence of the ICC process.

However, he added, the focus of the world needs to be on the fact that there are children alive in Rafah today who may not be if there is a major military incursion by Israel.

Mr Harris said that the world must stand united in calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Speaking as he arrived for this morning’s Cabinet meeting in Dublin, he said the Government believes in a two-state solution and will move to recognise the state of Palestine.

The Taoiseach added that this has to be the goal and recognition is an important part of this.

The Tánaiste said the ICC is a very important pillar of international humanitarian law and Ireland is a strong supporter of it.

Micheál Martin said it is important the independence of the court is upheld.

He said the world was watching the war in Gaza in horror and it is unconscionable to think there would be a further escalation of military action in Rafah.

“We need a fundamental change in the conduct of the world’s powers in respect of how war is waged and how civilians seem to be the first to be killed.”

Mr Martin said Ireland is on the side on international humanitarian law and does not believe in interfering in the work of the courts.

EU ministers will today discuss the launch of a “European media platform” to counter disinformation ahead of the European elections and to boost communications about the benefits of EU membership.

Minister Carroll MacNeill said disinformation and election interference by foreign actors ahead of the election was “extremely concerning.”

Ireland was hoping to sign up to the statement, but there was still some work to do on it, she said.

“At a domestic level, whether it’s a council election or European election, it is an issue in Ireland, and we have to protect our democratic process. It is about protecting individual human rights on the basis of a democratic, stable political system, and it’s under threat in different and new ways,” she told reporters.

Additional reporting Kieran Dineen

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