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Irish peacekeepers are going to train their African counterparts

A new training programme has been announced by Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Irish peacekeepers.
Irish peacekeepers.

IRELAND WILL SOON begin training African peacekeepers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.

Further details have yet to be hammered out with the United Nations, European Union, and other contributions, but the programme was agreed today at the UN summit in New York.

Minister Charlie Flanagan said the training would focus on officers and NCOs, who will then pass on what they have learnt to other troops.

“The training will include a specific focus on areas including protection of civilians, gender sensitivity, human rights and leadership training and logistics,” he said, adding that the training will also drawn on Ireland’s expertise in the areas of countering IEDs and training for military police.

Flanagan added that the expertise of Irish peacekeepers is widely acknowledged, and that troops have gained extra experience in recent years during missions in Mali and Somalia.

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney announced earlier this week that Irish troops will remain in the Golan Heights as part of a UN peacekeeping missions despite raised tensions in the region.

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Earlier this month, Syrian troops and Islamist rebels exchanged fire near peace line in the Golan Heights. In August, 45 Fijian peacekeepers from the mission were kidnapped by Al Qaeda-linked rebels from the Al-Nusra Front, before being safely released.

Coveney deemed this behaviour as “entirely unacceptable”, but said that there had been a fundamental realignment of the mission following this.

Read: Coveney confirms Irish troops will return to Golan Heights amid increased tensions >

More: The situation in the Golan Heights is going from bad to worse >

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Nicky Ryan

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