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Coveney visits Irish troops serving with United Nations in Lebanon

He will also meet with political leaders, including the Defence Minister and acting Foreign Affairs Minister.

Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs inspecting an Irish guard of honour in Lebanon today.
Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs inspecting an Irish guard of honour in Lebanon today.
Image: Irish Defence Forces

Updated Jul 5th 2021, 8:50 PM

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Simon Coveney has arrived in Lebanon to visit Irish troops serving with the United Nations Interim Force Lebanon (UNIFIL). 

During his visit, Coveney will visit UNIFIL headquarters in Naquora, where he will meet with the senior UN mission leadership of UNIFIL, along with Defence Forces personnel and personnel serving as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).

He will then travel to the Defence Forces base camp and observation posts on the Blue Line, meeting members of the 118th Infantry Battalion of the Defence Forces currently deployed in UNIFIL along with members of the Polish, Hungarian and Maltese armed forces which make up the multinational IrishPolBatt contingent in UNIFIL.

leb 2 Coveney addressing Irish troops in south Lebanon. Source: Irish Defence Forces

Alongside visiting Irish troops, Coveney’s itinerary includes meetings with political leaders, including the Minister for Defence and acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Chief of Staff of the Lebanese Armed Forces and with other political and civil society leaders in Lebanon.

“I want to personally tell Defence Forces personnel deployed in Lebanon how much the Government appreciates the work they are doing there,” Coveney said.

“Ireland’s substantial contribution to international peace support operations depends on the ongoing commitment of Defence Forces personnel to serve overseas in often difficult and dangerous circumstances and I think it is very important to acknowledge this effort,” he said.

The Minister added: “Ireland has strong political and historical ties to Lebanon, arising from our long-standing involvement in UNIFIL since the establishment of the mission over 40 years ago. We also share common values and histories. My Government remains strongly committed to the maintenance of peace and security in southern Lebanon.”

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Coveney will be accompanied by the Secretary General of the Department of Defence Jacqui McCrum, the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Defence Policy Director Ciaran Murphy and Political Director at the Department of Foreign Affairs Sonja Hyland.

Leb 1 Coveney laying a wreath at the monument to Irish troops killed on UN Duty in Tibnin, south Lebanon.

Ireland has a long history of participation in overseas missions mandated by the United Nations since 1958. In the period, Defence Forces personnel have completed approximately 70,000 individual tours of duty in overseas missions. 

As of 8 June, Ireland is contributing 564 personnel to various missions throughout the world.

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