Major General William Callaghan explains the challenges facing him as the Commander of the UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon.
Major General William O'Callaghan, the Irish commander of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) has warned that his forces will not be intimidated by attacks.
His statement came following the deaths of two Nigerian soldiers who died hen they came under an artillery attack by the Israeli-backed Christian militia led by Major Haddad.
Major General William O'Callaghan presented UN (United Nations) service medals to Irish troops at their headquarters in Tibnin, and in his speech made it clear that that he would not be pressured by any offensives in Lebanon,
I must categorically state that UNIFIL will not be intimidated by such wanton and brutal acts.
In a change of tone from that of his predecessor, he said that UNIFIL troops will defend themselves with the weapons at their disposal. Emphasising the peacekeeping nature of the force, he added that any future negotiations must be conducted on a level playing field,
I couldn't negotiate with anybody who intimidates me, who shoots at me or shoots at my soldiers.
One of General O’Callaghan's plans is to create a mobile reaction regiment from within existing UNIFIL personnel, which can react quickly to situations when needed. A greater effort is required on all sides to resolve the conflict in the region,
Everybody could do more, inside Lebanon, outside Lebanon, internationally, I think so.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 March 1981. The reporter is Tom McCaughren.