by David Andrews TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland
The basis of Irish participation in Partnership for Peace is set out in Ireland's Presentation Document to the Partnership for Peace Programme, as approved by the Dáil, the Irish Parliament. I have this morning conveyed the Irish Presentation Document to the Secretary-General.
In accepting the invitation to participate in Partnership for Peace, Ireland agrees with the basic concept of Partnership for Peace: Ireland reaffirms its commitment to fulfil in good faith the obligations of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Equally, Ireland reaffirms its commitments, which we have undertaken in the field of disarmament and arms control.
Ireland attaches importance to the voluntary, flexible and self-differentiating characteristics of the Partnership for Peace. In our case, we have set out clearly the areas of Irish Priority in our Presentation Document. We have also made clear that our decision to participate in Partnership for Peace is in full accordance with Ireland's policy of military neutrality.
Ireland plays an active role in UN peacekeeping, and supports the continuing elaboration of effective international strategies and action for conflict prevention, peacekeeping and crisis management. In this connection, Ireland attaches importance to effective and mutually reinforcing cooperation between those institutions with a role to play in the search for peace and stability in Europe.
Ireland welcomes the role that cooperation for peacekeeping has assumed in Partnership for Peace and looks forward to contributing to Partnership activities in this area.
Participation by Ireland in Partnership for Peace will assist the Irish Defence Forces in Improving their capability for multinational peacekeeping and peace support operations in the future. Equally, as is made clear in our Presentation Document, Ireland wishes to share with other participating States the experience which it has acquired in UN peacekeeping and crisis management over many years. Ireland wishes to play an active part in the Petersberg task of humanitarian, rescue, peacekeeping and crisis management operations. Ireland sees Partnership for Peace structures as having an important role to play in cooperation and planning for participation in the Petersberg task.
Ireland also looks forward to participation in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. We see the EAPC as an important forum for discussions which bring together all Partnership for Peace States on a wide range of matters including developments in peacekeeping, humanitarian issues, regional matters, arms control, civil defence and disaster relief. Ireland agrees with the concept underlying the EAPC as set out in the EAPC Basic Document of May 1997, notably the joint commitment to strengthen and extend peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. In particular, we note that the EAPC will take full account of and complement the respective activities of the OSCE and other relevant European institutions. Ireland sees the EAPC as a practical expression of the principle of mutually reinforcing cooperation in the search for peace and stability in Europe.