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Martin to meet EU foreign ministers before Egypt visit

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Micheál Martin is in Luxembourg to attend a meeting of EU foreign ministers, before travelling on for a series of engagements in the Middle East.

Ministers will discuss ways of getting air defence systems to Ukraine and how far to extend fresh sanctions against Iran, following its attack on Israel ten days ago.

Following months of delay and prevarication, the US House of Representatives at the weekend finally approved a $60 billion (€56.2bn) military support package for Ukraine.

US officials said the aid should allow for desperately needed ammunition to reach front line troops within a couple of weeks.

However, Ukraine also needs air defence systems due to Russia’s relentless assault on Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure which frequently hit residential buildings, then target emergency crews with a second strike.

NATO is consulting with members on the availability of systems. So far, Germany said it will provide a further Patriot air defence system.

EU foreign and defence ministers, who will be joined by their Ukrainian counterparts, will discuss ways of sourcing available air defence systems within Europe and beyond.

Ministers will also aim for agreement on expanding sanctions against Iran.

Discussions will focus on the manufacture of missile and drone systems, although some member states want to go further and designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation.

Following the meeting Mr Martin will fly to Cairo for a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, before travelling on to visit the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

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