Minister Flanagan welcomes United Nations Security Council statement on UNDOF19 September 2014
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, has welcomed today’s statement by the President of the United Nations Security Council which reaffirms the importance of the UNDOF mission as a vital contributor to peace and security in the Middle East.
The Security Council also endorsed the changes which have been made to the mission’s deployment to minimise risks to personnel, including Irish troops.
Speaking today, Minister Flanagan said:
“I echo the UN Security Council’s praise of peacekeepers, including Irish troops, for their bravery in facing the challenges in their area of operation. As the Council has said, there can never be any justification for attacks on, or detention of, UN peacekeepers.
“The Security Council has stated that the specialist skills, which Ireland has provided, have proved indispensable to the mission. As well as this, in recent weeks Irish peacekeepers have played a key role in securing the safe evacuation of UNDOF personnel in a very dangerous environment.
“Ireland, along with other contributors to the UNDOF mission, has raised concerns and stressed that the safety and security of our peacekeepers be prioritised and I welcome the recognition by the Council of the need for changes to the mission in order to minimise the risks to UNDOF personnel.
“It is vital that UNDOF be allowed to fulfil its important mission which has contributed to peace and security in the Middle East for over forty years. Irish diplomats in New York will continue to work closely with the UN to ensure that all necessary steps to allow this to happen are taken.
“I look forward to discussing this issue with Ban Ki-moon during my visit to the General Assembly next week.”
19 September 2014
Note for editors
• The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was established under Security Council Resolution 350 (1974) with a mandate to maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Syria; to supervise the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces; and to supervise the areas of separation and limitation as provided by the May 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement.
• Ireland’s current participation in the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) began in 2013. At present 135 members of the Permanent Defence Force are deployed to UNDOF where they provide the mission’s mobile Force Reserve and provide Counter-Improvised Explosive Device expertise.
• The next rotation of the Irish contingent is due to take place in mid-October. Ireland also contributes twelve observers to the UN Troop Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) which is headed by Maj. Gen. Michael Finn. This mission provides military observers to UN peacekeeping missions in the Middle East.