Written Answers. - UN MINURSO.

John Connor

Ceist:

18 Mr. Connor asked the Minister for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of the Defence Forces serving with the UN MINURSO in Western Sahara.

Irish officers have been participating since 1991 in the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, known as MINURSO. Six Irish officers are currently serving as observers with MINURSO, both at the Force Headquarters in Laayoune and at sector and team sites throughout the mission area. They are engaged in monitoring the ceasefire between Moroccan forces and those of the indigenous Polisario Front. This ceasefire was established to facilitate the holding of a referendum on the choice between independence for Western Sahara or integration with Morocco.

Officers serving with the mission will, in due course, be required to assist in supervising the referendum.