Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

19 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if a new mandate is likely to be sought at the Security Council of the United Nations to extend the war in Afghanistan to other countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3732/02]

The Government very much hopes that there will be no extension of military action beyond that undertaken in Afghanistan. We will make every effort to ensure that any further effort to eradicate international terrorism is achieved through peaceful means.

Security Council Resolution 1368, which is binding on all members of the United Nations, calls on all states to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of the terrorist attacks of 11 September and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of those acts will be held accountable.

If evidence was forthcoming that, in addition to the Taliban, the governments of one or more states were involved in harbouring those involved in the atrocities of 11 September, then those governments would also be held accountable under the terms of Resolution 1368. If this were to occur, the Government would wish the matter resolved without resort to military action. It is the Government's firm position that military action should be undertaken only as a means of last resort after all other means have failed.

It is critical that, at the same time as tackling international terrorism, the international community gives urgent priority to addressing the many root causes of conflict and terrorism. These include poverty, injustice, abuses of human rights and the proliferation of small arms. Ireland will continue to work to this end. All states have the inherent right to self-defence, recognised under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Ireland expects a state which acts under the right to self-defence to fulfil its obligations under the charter.