Minister Killeen visits Irish Troops in the Balkans
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Tony Killeen TD today (Monday 27th September 2010) begins an official visit to the Balkans where 62 Irish troops are currently serving as part of the KFOR mission in Kosovo and the EUFOR operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lt. General Sean McCann, is accompanying Minister Killeen.
During his two day visit, Minister Killeen will have the opportunity to meet with the Defence Forces personnel on the ground in both countries as well as meeting with the Commanders of both missions. "This is my first time to visit Defence Forces personnel overseas. I am very much looking forward to meeting our troops in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina who are doing a tremendous job. I know our troops have made a real and lasting difference over the years" stated Minister Killeen.
In Kosovo, Minister Killeen will meet with the Minister for the Kosovo Security Force, Mr Fehmi Mujota. Minister Killeen will take the opportunity to signal Ireland’s continued strong support for Kosovo’s independence, which the Irish government recognised in February 2008.
Tomorrow, Minister Killeen will visit Camp Butmir in Sarajevo, where, in addition to meeting personnel of the Irish contingent serving with the EU-led operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he is scheduled to meet with EUFOR’s Commander, Major General Bernhard Bair. At a ceremony to be held at Camp Butmir, the Minister (and the Chief of Staff) will present medals to members of the Irish contingent.
While in Sarajevo, Minister Killeen is also scheduled to meet Dr Valentin Inzko, EU Special Representative and High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. “This meeting will provide me with a timely opportunity to hear the EUSR’s view on the situation in the country in advance of the general election next weekend (3 October 2010) and on the prospects for progress on the necessary constitutional reform in the months ahead” the Minister stated. The Minister will return to Ireland tomorrow night. ENDS
Notes for Editors
KFOR was established on 10 June 1999 in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244, for an initial period of twelve months, to continue thereafter unless the UN Security Council decides otherwise. KFOR’s mandate is to establish a safe and secure environment in Kosovo conducive to the implementation of refugee return and reconstruction. Ireland has participated in KFOR since August 1999.
In December 2009 the Government decided that the Defence Forces commitments to overseas peace support operations would be scaled back in 2010 as one of the budgetary expenditure reductions. The draw-down of Irish personnel from KFOR began in April 2010 with the draw-down of approximately 190 personnel. A total of 19 Defence Forces personnel is currently serving with KFOR (13 in KFOR HQ and 6 in Multinational Battlegroup Centre). The Defence Forces contribution will be further reduced to twelve (12) in October 2010.
EUFOR ‘s Operation ALTHEA
The EU-led operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Operation “Althea” - was established in December 2004, to replace the NATO-led Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR). Ireland has participated in EUFOR since December 2004, having previously been a participant in SFOR since 1997. The Irish contingent serving with EUFOR currently comprises of 43 personnel.
In December 2009, the Government approved the draw-down in July 2010 of the Irish contingent from EUFOR. This draw-down was based on an expectation that the transition of the EUFOR mission to a training and support mission would have started by that time and having regard to the budgetary situation. However, the transition to a smaller training and support mission is not now expected to be completed for some months to come. Following a request, earlier this year, by EUFOR’s Operation Commander to maintain the Irish contingent with the mission until year end, the drawdown of the Irish contingent from the EU-led mission has been deferred until the end of 2010.
|Related Press Releases|
No documents found
Department of Defence
Tel 00 353 45 492000
Fax 00 353 45 492017
* loCall 1890 251890
** Or call 0761 001 607
* Note that the rates charged for the use of 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers
** 0761 numbers are charged as a national number from landlines and mobiles and are often included in bundle deals offered by phone operators