A severe case of don't mention the war
Ireland's Kosovo stance makes us more neutered than neutral, writes Political Correspondent Joseph O'MalleyDAVID ANDREWS described Irish foreign policy on Kosovo last week as being caught between a rock and hard place. The Government couldn't condemn the Nato attack on Yugoslavia, nor endorse it. In the first war on European soil in some 50 years, the Government neither approved nor disapproved of the Nato action.
Ireland's neutrality policy on the issue was hard to explain, and even more difficult to justify. And particularly when the Government found last week's EU Summit negotiations on Agenda 2000, suddenly overshadowed by the Kosovo war. In Gay Mitchell's phrase in the Dáil on Tuesday, the Government was more neutered than neutral.
Around the negotiating table in Berlin, some 11 of the EU member states were Nato partners involved in the war effort against Yugoslavia. The exposure of Ireland's hollow brand of neutrality could not have come at a worse time. It left the Government facing some hard choices.