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Personnel on duty from the 43rd Infantry Group UNDOF in Syria RollingNews.ie/Defence Forces
Golan Heights

Defence Forces to withdraw 130 Irish troops from UN peacekeeping mission in Golan Heights

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin today informed the Government of the decision to withdraw.

THE DEFENCE FORCES are withdrawing from the UN peacekeeping mission on the Golan Heights in Syria. 

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin today informed the Government of the decision to withdraw from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

The date of their withdrawal will now be discussed with the United Nations Department of Peace Operations.

The UNDOF was established on 31 May 1974 by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 350 (1974), following the agreed disengagement of the Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights in May 1974.

UNDOF supervises the implementation of the Disengagement Agreement, maintaining an area of separation between the forces which is over 75 kilometres long. 

Ireland commenced participation in UNDOF on 22 June 2013.

The Department of Defence said the decision to withdraw follows the conclusion of an assessment of the sustainability of the Defence Forces’ overseas commitments.

“As a result of this assessment and on the basis of military advice, the decision has been taken to withdraw the Infantry Group, with approximately 130 Defence Force personnel,” the Department said. 

The decision will make sure that the Defence Forces have the capacity to fulfil their commitment to the EU Battlegroup 2024/2025 as well as allowing the Defence Forces to undertake a process of consolidation with regard to their overseas commitments and to prepare for future peace-keeping missions, the Department said. 

“The withdrawal of troops from UNDOF will also relieve ongoing challenges in respect of the filling of certain specialist roles in overseas deployments,” it added.

The Tánaiste also confirmed that the Defence Forces will engage with the United Nations with a view to maintaining some or all of the staff posts currently occupied by Defence Forces personnel in UNDOF headquarters and will explore the possibility of providing a modest increase in our troop contribution to UNIFIL.

The Defence Forces Ireland’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York will engage directly with the UN to ensure that the Defence Forces’ withdrawal will be managed in such a way as not to compromise the integrity of the mission and to minimise any necessary disruption caused by the withdrawal.

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