Dáil Éireann - Volume 544 - 22 November, 2001
Written Answers. - Overseas Missions.
Mr. Gormley Mr. Gormley
23. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had any discussions at EU, UN or bilateral level concerning Ireland's possible participation in peacekeeping in Afghanistan;  and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29173/01]
Mr. Deasy Mr. Deasy
61. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Government will provide troops for a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, if requested by the United Nations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29175/01]
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
91. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his plans to take initiatives at UN level to encourage a UN peacekeeping force for Afghanistan; if Irish troops are likely to be involved in the event of such action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29423/01]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 23, 61 and 91 together.
The Government fully supports the efforts of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to set up a transitional administration in Afghanistan as soon as possible. The Government believes that only a fully representative and broad-based government will ensure long-term peace and security in Afghanistan. EU Foreign Ministers also reiterated their support for this approach at their meeting on 19 November.
The process of putting in place a new administration will need to be undertaken in a secure environment and the various options for restoring long-term security will have to be examined carefully. The UN Secretary General's Special Representative has made it clear that his preferred option is for an all-Afghan force supported, in the interim, by a multinational element. Security Council Resolution 1378, which was adopted in New York on 13 November, endorsed this approach. Resolution 1378 also affirmed that the UN should play a central role in supporting the efforts of the Afghan people to establish a transitional administration leading to the formation of a new government. However, while the UN is currently involved in the process which it is hoped will lead to the formation of such an administration, it is not possible at this stage to say exactly how the UN's role in Afghanistan will develop. The possibility of our taking part in a UN peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan does not, therefore, arise at this stage.
If asked at some future date to contribute personnel to a UN-mandated mission in Afghanistan, the Government would, as a matter of course, give serious consideration to such a request. Should the Government decide to seek Dáil approval to send the troops on a particular mission, it will take full account of the security situation in the area, the mandate of the mission and other factors such as the equipment and skills necessary for the mission.
Question No. 24 answered with Question No. 20.
Dáil Éireann 544 Written Answers. Overseas Missions.