The Minister for Defence, Mr Alan Shatter, T.D., has secured Cabinet approval to deploy members of the Permanent Defence Force as unarmed military observers to the new UN mission in Syria. Up to six members of the Permanent Defence Force will be made available to the UN for service with the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). The new Supervision Mission will monitor a cessation of armed violence “in all its forms by all parties” in Syria. The mission will also monitor the full implementation of the six-point plan recently proposed by Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Mr Kofi Annan to bring an end to the crisis in Syria. A UN advance team is already in Syria, and the Government also agreed that Defence Forces personnel could be made available to the UN team should that be required.
Speaking after the Government Meeting, Mr Shatter said “The UN supervision mission will contribute to improving the situation on the ground not only in saving lives but in bringing about reform and political transition in Syria. “ Minister Shatter added that “Participation by the Defence Forces in the UN supervision mission will, once again, reaffirm Ireland’s continued support for the United Nations.”
The UN Security Council has called for the mission to be deployed expeditiously subject to assessment by the UN Secretary- Genereal of relevant developments on the ground, including the consolidation of the cessation of violence. Today’s Government decision clears the way for deployment of Irish personnel subject to the security situation in Syria.