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Irish FM: No chance for EU ban on settlement goods

(JTA) — Ireland would support a European Union ban on settlement goods, but "there is no prospect for reaching an agreement" on such a ban, the Irish foreign minister said.

“Ireland would support such a ban [on goods from Israeli settlments in the West Bank] at EU level," Eamon Gilmore said in a Nov. 2 letter to the chairman of the Irish parliament’s Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.

However, until there is a prospect for reaching an agreement among EU members on banning settlements products, “it would be a mistake for Ireland to focus our energies on this aspect,” Gilmore wrote.

"Many partners" opposed calls to ban settlement goods, he said. 

Gilmore added that a ban “would not, of itself, make settlements unviable.” He called settlements “a major impediment to peace” and said Ireland will “push for a strong EU role in seeking progress on the Middle East peace process.”

The Israeli daily Haaretz, which published a copy of the letter by Gilmore, quoted an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that the Irish ambassador to Israel would be summoned to “clarify” the letter.

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