Written answers

Tuesday, 2 July 2024

Department of An Taoiseach

Military Neutrality

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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117. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he intends to publish the discussion paper and accompanying letter he wrote to NATO seeking closer cooperation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28161/24]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Ireland works closely with the other militarily neutral and non-aligned countries in Western Europe that are not members of NATO.

In this context, in December 2023, Ireland joined Switzerland, Austria and Malta in submitting a non-paper and accompanying letter which addressed our engagement with the organisation. As I have already outlined, this non-paper and letter focused in particular on ways in which the four countries concerned are working to enhance international peace and security, including through our contributions to international peacekeeping missions, such as the NATO mission in Kosovo (KFOR). The paper and letter also addressed opportunities for dialogue and consultation between the four countries and NATO on issues of mutual relevance and interest.

As I have stated previously, our engagement on these issues reflects the Government’s approach to strengthening our cooperation with international partners, including NATO, in addressing the security challenges facing Europe today It also aligns with the specific goals contained within our new Individually Tailored Partnership Programme (ITPP), under our long-standing partnership with NATO through Partnership for Peace. Malta, Switzerland and Austria, who have also recently concluded similar ITPPs with NATO, take the same approach and all four countries cooperate closely on security and defence policy issues, both in the context of the Partnership for Peace framework and more broadly.

Given that the non-paper and the letter were prepared jointly with three other States, we are not in a position to publish these documents; however, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs are available to brief the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in more detail at any stage.

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