Andrews Moves Motion to approve Ireland's Participation in Partnership for Peace
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, TD, today moved a motion that Dail Eireann approve the participation by Ireland in the Partnership for Peace(PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership coucil (EAPC). Opening the debate, the Minister said that
"Traditional conceptions of security and defence within Europe have given way to strategies of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and crisis management. This is reflected in the priority accorded to the Petersberg tasks of humanitarian, rescue, peacekeeping and crisis management tasks in the EU's Amsterdam Treaty."
The Minister paid tribute to Ireland's exemplary record in UN peacekeeping citing the 46,000 tours of duty that Irish peacekeepers have served on. However, Minister Andrews acknowledged that a major evolution in UN peacekeeping has been taking place.
"It is recognised that the UN is increasingly reliant on regional security organisations to support and carry out missions on its behalf. Ireland has already moved into the new UN approach to regional peacekeeping through our participation in the SFOR operation in Bosnia and the KFOR operation in Kosovo. These operations are mandated by the UN Security Council but are conducted on the UN's behalf by NATO."
Minister Andrews observed that relationships between countries have evolved.
"The divisions of the Cold War have been replaced by a new approach based on cooperative approaches to security. Ireland's approach is based firmly on the principle of mutually reinforcing cooperation between security institutions."
The Minister defined PfP as ‘a voluntary, non-biding and cooperative security framework of cooperation between NATO and non-members of NATO that has evolved into a major framework for cooperation, training and preparation for UN peacekeeping, humanitarian tasks and crisis management.'
Ireland's Presentation Document - which was laid before the Dail on Tuesday 5th October - is clear in its focus, and self-explanatory in its content. It reaffirms Ireland's commitment to a policy of military neutrality.
"Our decision to participate in PfP is in full accordance with the policy of military neutrality, which has always been pursued in tandem with full and active support for collective security, based on international law.
"The Presentation Document makes clear that participation in PfP will in no sense inhibit our commitment to disarmament and arms control. Furthermore, it makes clear that the central focus of our participation in PfP is cooperation for peacekeeping. Based on our experience, Ireland is prepared to participate in and contribute to cooperation in the PfP framework in such areas as interoperability, planning for peacekeeping and peace support, communications, command and control, operational procedures, logistics and training."
The Minister paid tribute to the Irish Defence Forces personnel who have been actively involved in humanitarian assistance.
"In the light of this accumulated experience, we are interested in the development of cooperation, and the exchange of experience and expertise in the area of humanitarian operations."
Minister Andrews concluded by saying
"This motion is the culmination of a process of debate and analysis which I have actively encouraged since becoming Minister for Foreign Affairs. In the words of the Taoiseach earlier this year, ‘Ireland of the New Millennium should become more active and involved in the world around us, and shed any remaining isolationist instincts or inhibitions.' It is in this context that I commend this Motion to the House."Top