Saturday 7 December 2019

UN mission purely peacekeeping - Coveney

A member of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) gestures from an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights before crossing into Syria last week
A member of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) gestures from an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights before crossing into Syria last week
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

DEFENCE Minister Simon Coveney has moved quickly to dismiss suggestions that Irish peacekeeping troops want to be armed with highly sophisticated Javelin anti-armour missiles and launchers.

Proposals about including the Javelin in the troops' arsenal could wrongly indicate that Ireland wants to be a player in the Golan Heights rather than a peacekeeper.

Ireland has a proud record of troops contributions to United Nations peace missions around the globe and, as US President Barack Obama said, it "has punched above its weight".

Undof, the force on the Golan, is an observer mission and has been successful in achieving its objective of maintaining a demilitarised zone between Israel and Syria, for the past 40 years.

The outbreak of internal strife in Syria has dramatically changed the dynamic. But as a "Chapter Six" mission the focus remains on peacekeeping rather than peace enforcement. The standard of equipment deployed depends on the mission mandate and the role being played.

The Irish may seek the addition of 81mm mortars, which were previously used in south Lebanon. But talk about Javelins is dangerous and sends the wrong message.

Irish Independent

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