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Ireland's Peace Keeping Efforts Praised

 

Updated : Jul 8, 2009

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised Ireland’s contribution to peacekeeping claiming the country was a dynamic presence in the international body.

The top diplomat said Irish personnel had served with distinction throughout the organisation.

In a major speech in Dublin Castle Mr Ban paid tribute to Irish soldiers killed in the line of duty under the UN flag, expressing his deepest appreciation for the country’s commitment.

“Ninety of your citizens have made the ultimate sacrifice while rendering this vital service. I pay tribute to your fallen personnel,” the Secretary General said.

“And I express my deepest appreciation to Ireland for its long-standing commitment to these operations, and to those being led by the European Union.”

Mr Ban was on the first leg of a two-day official visit to Ireland where he held talks with Taoiseach Brian Cowen and was to meet Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin.

Earlier he met President Mary McAleese and was also invited to address the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin Castle on UN peacekeeping operations.

Mr Ban, who ranked U2 frontman Bono among his friends and greeted the audience with: "Dia Duit," said Ireland’s global engagement had inspired admiration and respect, describing the country as a bridge-builder.

He highlighted last year’s international cluster munitions conference in Dublin in which the deadly weapon was banned from use.

“Last year’s cluster munitions conference here in Dublin, at which these inhuman weapons were banned, was just one example of your leadership on disarmament and non-proliferation,” he said.

On the North, Ban said Irish governments had taken risks for peace that are now paying rich dividends, claiming the country had given the world an inspiring example.

Mr Ban also touched on Ireland’s involvement in EU military missions, claiming they were fully compatible with its traditional support for the UN.

“This is not a zero-sum game in which more support for one institution means less for the other. We are in this together,” he said.

And on the global financial crisis the top diplomat said he realised Ireland had been hit hard, but said he believed the country was taking steps to allow it to contribute to the upturn when it comes.

 

 

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