On the second day of the visit to the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Lebanon, UNIFIL, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vulin visited the Sector East, bases 7-2 and 9-66 which are under the command of a Spanish battalion which incorporates the Serbian national contingent, and he met the UNIFIL mission Commander Major General Michael Beary.
Major General Baery, who is very pleased with the results, achieved by the Serbian soldiers engaged in UNIFIL mission, talked with Minister Vulin about the opportunities for the enhancement of the cooperation.
– The Serbian Armed Forces are highly appreciated. The contribution of the state of Serbia and the Serbian Armed Forces is quite visible in UNIFIL mission and wherever our peacekeepers appear, we may say that they make us proud with their human and expert qualities. We are, of course, ready to advance the cooperation with the United Nations and provide a greater number of our peacekeepers where we deem it required.
Wherever the Serbian Armed Forces appear, they leave extremely good impression and that is something that significantly helps us in our diplomatic endeavours, not only to present our country, but when time comes to rebuild and construct in these countries endangered by the wars that are the reason for the peacekeeping missions, then the countries which have participated in the peacekeeping missions will get the work. Hence, the investment in peacekeeping missions is also investment in our future and investment in our economy, stated Minister Vulin.
General Beary pointed out that Serbia gave considerable contribution to peace in the southern Lebanon.
– It is a significant participant of the UNIFIL mission among 42 countries that have been involved so far. Serbia provided 177 troops. They have been here since 2010 and they are deployed all over the mission in both Sectors and in my headquarters as well. I am satisfied with their contribution. I hope that Serbia will continue sending such professionals to the mission because they are very good in their job and we are proud of their participation in the UNIFIL, said General Beary.
The members of the Serbia national contingent are deployed in three bases of the UNIFIL mission. They are engaged in staff and command duties and as National Support Element.
Minister Vulin with the delegation consisting of Lieutenant General Milosav Simović, and Colonel Slobodan Stopa, met Commander of the Sector East in the Base 7-2, Brigadier General Jose Martinez Falero, who underlined that the Serbian national contingent was fully integrated in the multinational brigade of the Sector East. He added that he personally participated in the certification of the Serbian soldiers prior to deployment to the area of operations and that their readiness was optimal.
– I have no doubt about Serbian soldiers being exceptional professionals and I am certain that they have fulfilled their mission magnificently, said General Falero.
According to the Commander of the Sector, the current situation in the region is peaceful notwithstanding daily minor incidents along the Blue Line. The mandate of the UNIFIL mission is going to be terminated on 31st August, but it will most likely be extended, as it has been extended each year.
The provisional forces of the United Nations in Lebanon are one of the oldest active missions under the auspices of the UN. The mission was established in 1978 at the height of the Lebanese civil war and Israeli occupation. The deployment zone of the forces and execution of UNIFIL tasks is the area along 120 km long Blue Line which divides Israel and southern part of Lebanon. There are some 11.000 troops engaged in the mission.