Written Answers. - UNIFIL Troops Reimbursement.

15.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will make a statement on the money due by the United Nations in connection with the Irish peace-keeping forces in the Lebanon, indicating the amounts due by the United Nations and how long this amount has been outstanding; and the steps he is taking in the matter.

A total of £18,444,000 was outstanding from the United Nations as at 30 September 1986 in respect of participation by personnel of the Defence Forces in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) over the period from May 1978. On the basis of present levels of reimbursement it is expected that £3,939,000 of the amount outstanding will be refunded by the United Nations leaving a shortfall in reimbursable entitlements for this period of £14,505,000.

The question of securing repayment of full entitlements for troop costs, calculated in accordance with the rates laid down by the UN General Assembly, has been pursued vigorously and continuously with the United Nations through the Department of Foreign Affairs using all appropriate means at its disposal. At successive sessions of the UN General Assembly serious concern has been expressed by Irish delegations regarding the withholding of assessed contributions to the UNIFIL account by certain UN member states, which gives rise to the shortfall in the first place. In addition, in conjunction with other countries contributing troops to UNIFIL and by enlisting the support of our EEC partners we have continued to exert pressure on those countries not contributing to the fund. In a meeting with the UN Assistant Secretary General in New York in July last I impressed on him our serious concern in this matter. Every possible effort will continue to be made to have the outstanding amount reimbursed by the United Nations.