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Ireland to withdraw troops from UN force stationed in Golan Heights

March 9, 2023 at 1:59 pm

Irish Defence Minister Micheál Martin (L) attends the second day meeting of EU Leaders’ Summit [Thierry Monasse / Pool – Anadolu Agency]

Ireland will withdraw its 130 infantry troops who form part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the occupied GOlan Heights.

Irish Defence Minister, Micheal Martin, informed the government that the UNDOF – tasked with monitoring activity along the ceasefire line in the aftermath of the 1973 war – will be withdrawing to join the EU Battlegroup.

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“That assessment has now been completed, and the military advice provided to me was that the Defense Forces should reduce our commitments with UNDOF in preparation for our participation in the EU Battlegroup,” he said.

According to the Irish Examiner, they are due to return home in April and will be replaced by the 67th Infantry Group.

A government statement said that the decision “follows the conclusion of an assessment of the sustainability of the Defence Forces’ overseas commitments.”

“The decision will ensure that the Defence Forces have the capacity to fulfil their commitment to the EU Battlegroup 2024/2025 as well as allowing the Defence Forces to undertake a process of consolidation with regard to their overseas commitments and to prepare for future peace-keeping missions. The withdrawal of troops from UNDOF will also relieve ongoing challenges in respect of the filling of certain specialist roles in overseas deployments,” the statement added.

The UN Security Council deployed UNDOF in 1974 to monitor a ceasefire between Syria and Israel in the Golan Heights. There are more than 880 UN troops on the ground.

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