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Coveney satisfied UN will review Irish troops' Golan Heights mission

He said that he’s satisfied they acceded to his request for a review.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

SIMON COVENEY SAID he’s satisfied that the UN agreed to his request to review Irish troops’ mission to Golan Heights.

The Minister for Defence made the comments today while addressing the Annual Delegate Conference of the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association, (PDFORRA) in Sligo.

Raised tensions in Syria had led to concerns about the safety of UN troops, but Coveney confirmed that Irish peacekeepers will remain in Golan Heights.

In early September, Syrian troops and Islamist rebels exchanged fire near in the Golan Heights.

The month before, 45 Fijian peacekeepers from the mission were kidnapped by Al Qaeda-linked rebels from the Al-Nusra Front. They were safely released.

Coveney deemed this behaviour as “entirely unacceptable” at time. He said that there had been a fundamental realignment of the mission following this incident.

Of the UNDOF operation in Golan Heights, he said:

I personally discussed these issues with the Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations. Given the recent UN Security Council Presidency Statement, I am satisfied that the United Nations has acceded to my request to review the mission and its capacity to fulfil its mandate in light of the civil war in Syria.

He added: “The continued participation by Irish troops and the capabilities provided by Ireland to UNDOF will help ensure that the mission can continue implementing its mandate, a position strongly supported and endorsed by the UN Security Council.”

Coveney also stressed that for the Defence Organisation, the preparation of the new White Paper on Defence is a priority for the year ahead.

Coveney also congratulated the Naval Service and the Air Corps on the successful interception and detention of the one tonne of drugs found on board the yacht Makayabella last week.

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