Dáil Éireann - Volume 633 - 07 March, 2007
Written Answers. - Overseas Missions.
Mr. Curran Mr. Curran
Mr. Curran asked the Minister for Defence the preparations being made for the Defence Forces assuming lead nation status in Kosovo; the additional manpower and resources required; the current security assessment in Kosovo and the region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8640/07]
Mr. O’Dea Mr. O’Dea
Mr. O’Dea: KFOR was established in June 1999 to support the maintenance of civil law and order within Kosovo, so as to develop a climate of safety and security, which will enable the transfer of increased responsibility to the civil authorities.
Ireland has participated in the KFOR since August 1999. The Irish contingent currently comprises an APC Mounted Infantry Group of some 215 personnel including a number of personnel in staff posts at various KFOR Headquarters. In September 2006, the Government agreed to the Defence Forces undertaking an additional responsibility as Framework Nation for the Multinational Task Force Centre (MNTF (C)) in KFOR for a period of 12 months from August 2007. This will be a new development for the Defence Forces as we have never before commanded a brigade size force in multinational PfP- led peace support operation. Undertaking this new responsibility will contribute significantly to the development of the Defence Forces, improving its capabilities and heightening its profile as a professional and well-organised force within the international peacekeeping community.
Approximately 52 additional Defence Forces personnel will deploy to KFOR for the Framework Nation period. It is envisaged that up to 10 soft-skinned military vehicles will also deploy. Personnel are currently being selected and mission specific training will commence in April 2007. A Defence Forces Implementation Group has conducted meetings with representatives of partner nations in the Multinational Task Force Centre with a view to finalising arrangements, between the parties in question, which will be in place for Ireland’s Framework Nation term.
The current security in Kosovo remains relatively stable. Delays in both the formation of a new Serbian government and progressing the future status proposals of UN Special Representative Athisaari have the potential to impact on security within the province. Recent incidents, most notably the rioting in Pristina on 10 February, 2007, indicate that there is the potential for the situation to destabilise. The Defence Forces closely monitor the situation within Kosovo and are in continuous contact with our personnel deployed there. At this time the Defence Forces do not anticipate an increased threat to our personnel serving in Kosovo.
Dáil Éireann 633 Written Answers. Overseas Missions.