Northern Ireland

‘Dialogue’ key to ending Gaza crisis after immediate ceasefire, Michelle O’Neill tells CNN

First minister speaks on example peace process sets to rest of the world

Michelle O’Neill speaking at the launch of a Sinn Fein policy paper on ending sectarianism
Michelle O’Neill.

Stormont’s First Minister Michelle O’Neill has spoken of the “value of dialogue” in finding a solution to the Gaza crisis after being asked how the situation compares to the north’s peace process.

The Sinn Féin vice-president said an immediate ceasefire was required and an end to the “genocide” in Gaza before talks could begin, while speaking on CNN International with journalist and host Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

Ms Amanpour referred to the north’s long road to peace after decades of the Troubles, and asked Ms O’Neill how the region could “be an example for the rest of the world” and in particular to “the leaders of Israel and Palestine right now”.

“We have had 26 years of a successful peace process that only came about by dialogue, negotiation, by sitting around a table, by all voices being around that table and actually having the conversation about how we can end conflict and move forward,” Ms O’Neill said.

“I and many like me are so grateful for the gift of peace that we have been given by our Good Friday accord, and we have much to celebrate. We are a society that has been completely transformed over the course of our peace process.”

Ms O’Neill said of Israel’s invasion of Gaza: “Six months on the slaughter continues. Six months on we need to see an immediate ceasefire. We need to see dialogue, we need to see humanitarian aid, medical aid; we need to see a political solution because what’s happening day and daily - the bombardments, the genocide in terms of the people of Palestine and Gaza is just horrendous.

“So if we have to offer anything, I think it’s the value of dialogue, the value of being able to find that solution that everybody can sign up to, and ultimately for me, what I want to see in terms of the Middle East is a political solution that allows the long tale of oppression to end, particularly in terms of this latest horrific chapter of what’s happening in Palestine.”