Following the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial summit in New York, the Minister with responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D. confirmed that from November 2019, Poland will be partnering Ireland in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Hungarian personnel would also deploy as part of the Polish contingent.
UNIFIL is Ireland’s main overseas mission with over 450 Defence Force personnel deployed.
Minister Kehoe, who visited Irish troops in UNIFIL earlier this month, warmly welcomed the development, which was confirmed following detailed negotiations involving officials from the Department of Defence and Military management, as well as their Polish counterparts.
“The Irish Government warmly welcomes the deployment later this year of the armed forces of the Republic of Poland joining the Irish Battalion in UNIFIL,” Minister Kehoe said.
“Poland has a long tradition in international crisis management operations and our forces have served alongside each other successfully in other missions over the years".
The confirmation was made at the United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial following the conclusion of a series of high-level engagements at UN Headquarters, where Minister Kehoe addressed the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly on key developments in Peacekeeping, Security, Climate Action and the combatting of the financing of terrorism. The Minister also co-hosted a conference on Peacekeeping at the International Peacekeeping Institute with the Fijian Minister for Defence. Fiji has a long history of service on peacekeeping, including service alongside the Irish Defence Forces.
Minister Kehoe also held a wide range of bilateral meetings in support of Ireland’s bid to secure a seat on the UN Security Council.
On Friday, Minister Kehoe addressed the UN Defence Ministerial in the General Assembly on Ireland’s 60-year unbroken legacy of peacekeeping and announced a number of further training and development initiatives to support UN Troop contributors, along with funding trainee peacekeepers.
Speaking after he addressed the General Assembly, the Minister said: “These high level ministerial meetings at the level of the United Nations are vitally important in furthering the global commitment to peacekeeping and to ensuring we deliver the required supports to Troop Contributing Countries who are the backbone of our peacekeeping missions. As long term contributors, Ireland also has a responsibility to support new and emerging troop contributors, particularly from smaller member States. The commitments I outlined at the UN today are key elements of that support.”