We must address terrorism and people smuggling, Taoiseach tells EU-Arab League summit

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith
Irish Examiner Political Correspondent

The first ever joint meeting of EU and Arab League leaders is an opportunity to help both regions clampdown on the growing risk of terrorism in Europe and the middle east, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar made the comments as he said there is a clear need to address terrorism, people smuggling and to improve living conditions on both sides of the Mediterranean if the problems are to be tackled.

Speaking to reporters on the first day of the two day EU-Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Mr Varadkar said while Brexit is attracting most attention other issues cannot be ignored.

Asked specifically about migration and the meeting itself, the Taoiseach said the dual crises are important and that political leaders must not shirk responsibility for resolving them.

"I think migration is a huge issue in European politics at the moment, perhaps not as much in Ireland as it is in other countries.

We’re very keen to demonstrate solidarity with other EU countries. That means working to disrupt people smuggling.

“I think it’s working with transit countries and countries of origin to improve living conditions in those countries as well.

“And it also means improving our external border security and Ireland is taking part in that through our Irish navy in the Mediterranean.

"[This summit] is an opportunity to talk about shared concerns such as security and how we can prevent terrorism together.

"Between Europe and the Arab countries. And also the peace process and the situation in Palestine,

In Syria and in Yemen," he said.

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