Irish ‘Rapid Response Corps’ on standby for Georgia mission

Irish Times
13.08.2008
Kilian Doyle

Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps is on standby to join a European Union humanitarian mission to Georgia if required, it has been confirmed.

Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power told a Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels today that the Irish group would be available to join an EU mission to the region if required.

The Corps, which is run by the Irish Aid division of the Department of Foreign Affairs, was created last year to respond to international crises. It is made up of volunteers experienced in logistics, engineering, health, education and information technology.

Members of the Corps assist in the humanitarian responses of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Appeals (OCHA).

Mr Power also said Ireland was donating €100,000 in emergency aid to the International Committee of the Red Cross after it appealed for help. Ireland has already committed €500,000 in development aid to Georgia.

Mr Power was reported as saying the EU ministers backed sending peacekeeping monitors to Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia

“The EU is ready to engage, including on the ground, to support the efforts of the United Nations and the OSCE,” he was quoted as saying, adding that the details about sending peacekeepers would be discussed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers next month.

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