Farewell Ceremony Held for the Contingent of the Serbian Armed Forces Due for the UN Mission in the Central African Republic
Wednesday, 26.2.2020 | Multinational Operations
Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin and Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, Major General Petar Cvetković attended today the official farewell ceremony of the 10th Serbian Armed Forces contingent to the United Nations Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) at the “Banjica 2” barracks in Belgrade.
What sets this 10th contingent apart from the previous ones is that it will perform its tasks as an independent and self-sustained Serbian hospital throughout the engagement. 72 more members of the Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Armed Forces will soon depart for the Central African Republic, where they will be engaged in the medical treatment of forces in Operation MINUSCA over the next six months.
In his address, Minister Vulin emphasized that for the tenth time, we are sending those we love, those we are proud of and for the tenth time they are going to alleviate suffering and pain where ever they can and to bring peace.
— Serbia knows what it is like when a country is torn apart by war, Serbia knows what hate means, Serbia knows what human suffering means. This is probably the reason why our members are so highly appreciated wherever they go and not only because of that. We understand human suffering and human torment. We are not only sending top professionals, and that is what each our member is beyond any doubt. We are sending good people, people who understand what it is like to suffer and what it is like to expect help from someone whose name, nation, or language you don’t even know. But when you provide help, your name and language and the nation will be remembered — Minister Vulin emphasized, adding that that is why the Serbian flag is carried so high and that is why it is so highly respected and appreciated.
According to Minister Vulin, the task of our Peacekeepers is to alleviate pain, to bring peace, to guard, to defend, but also to preserve the valuable and honorable name of our country and our Armed Forces.
— You wear the United Nations blue berets, but you are the soldiers of the Republic of Serbia and the Serbian Armed Forces, and whatever you do, wherever your thoughts may be at that moment, never forget it. Few countries can boast that they are able to form and display an entire unit, self-sustained, beyond the borders of their own country. It has taken us decades also to make it possible, but this speaks of one other armed force, of another country, it speaks of an armed force being renewed, one that is stronger and a country that is a better place to live. I am asking all of you to take care of yourself first, to take care of those who have traveled with you, to guard each other, and to always be conscious of what it is like for us who are waiting for you and who worry about you until you return to us. The order is awarded to the ones who return. Do not attempt to be heroes, obey the rules and your mandate and above all, come back to us healthy, return to us well, enriched with experiences and stories that you will share with your children, friends and grandchildren — but come back to us good and healthy — emphasized Minister Vulin adding that there is nothing more valuable and important than that.
Addressing the Peacekeepers, the Minister of Defense said that we will miss each and every one of them and that all of us will be thinking of them, and that we will not always tell them how much we worry for them, but that they will know it.
— We know you care and we know you think and we know that above all you are thinking and taking care to get back to us quickly and safely. Take care of each other and we will take care of you — Minister Vulin said.
Traditionally, at today’s ceremony, the Minister of Defense handed over the flag of the Republic of Serbia to the Commander of the Serbian contingent, the Navy Captain Ljubiša Marković, who, on that occasion, emphasized that the contingent members would proudly and honorably carry the flag of the Republic of Serbia in the Central African Republic.
The contingent Commander, Navy Captain Ljubiša Marković, stressed that it would be difficult to maintain the standards set by the members of the Serbian Armed Forces over the previous nine rotations.
— Our task is to treat UN members deployed in the Central African Republic. We will do our best and I am sure that we will be able to rise up to the trust and expectations given to us — said the contingent Commander, Navy Captain Marković.
The military hospital commander, Lieutenant Colonel Danilo Joković, pointed out that the mission of the military hospital is to provide continuous and adequate medical support to the members of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic.
— We will be performing the task in somewhat changed circumstances with relation to the previous nine rotations of our contingent, since for the first time we will be self-sustained, which means that complete logistical support and functioning of the hospital and contingent falls within the jurisdiction of our state. It is up to us to live up to the great trust and excellent reputation that the Serbian military hospital enjoys in this mission, thanks to the continuous work of the previous nine rotations, and to try to improve it as far as possible — said Lieutenant Colonel Joković.
Lieutenant Colonel Emil Kirkov, who will be on duty as a Logistics Support Assistant, stressed the importance of the military hospital being self-sustained for the first time, as it would give “a new quality and a new capability to the Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Armed Forces”.
— This means that all support will fall under the responsibility of the state of Serbia, which is what we have worked on over the previous period — said Lieutenant Colonel Kirkov.
It is not the first time for Nurse Svetlana Petrović to go to the MINUSCA multinational operation.
— This time I am going as the hospital’s Head Nurse and I will have more responsibility and a greater challenge. We are facing many diseases, wounds and injuries that are not characteristic of our climate. In addition, it is certainly an honor to participate in this mission as a member of the Serbian Armed Forces — said Svetlana Petrović.
The Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Armed Forces currently participate in nine multinational UN and EU operations around the world, with 292 Serbian Peacekeepers engaged.
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