Plans are being formalised to host an informal peace summit in Ireland, to facilitate talks between some European and Arab leaders.

The move was announced in Dublin today following a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

At a press conference with the Palestinian Foreign Minister Dr Riad Malki, Mr Coveney announced the plans. 

"We discussed the idea of Ireland hosting a small informal meeting of a few Arab and European foreign ministers with Palestinian representatives in the coming months," said Mr Coveney.

During the same conference, Mr Coveney announced that Ireland has pledged an additional €1m to the UN Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees.

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The agency provides healthcare, education and other supports in Gaza and the West Bank as well as to Palestinian refugees in the region.

Mr Coveney said the recent decision by the United States to cease all funding to the agency would have a negative impact on the Middle East region.

Including the additional funds announced today, Ireland's funding to the Palestinian people this year will be almost €13m.

When asked if Ireland had any intention to officially recognise Palestine as a state, Mr Coveney said: "Ireland is committed to recognising the state of Palestine in our Programme for Government, but it does say in the context of a negotiated solution in terms of the peace process."

The invitation to visit Ireland was extended to Mr Abbas by the Tánaiste in January, after the pair met in Ramallah.

Mr Abbas paid a courtesy visit to Áras an Uachtaráin, where a number of protesters lined the driveway, demonstrating over what they describe as a failure by Mr Abbas to engage with peace-talks.

After meeting with President Higgins, the Palestinian president and his foreign minister met with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Mr Coveney at Farmleigh.