Fiji soldiers start Golan mission

The 182 Fijian troop has safely arrived in the area of operation at the Israeli-Syria border to keep the peace and help stop an all-out war.

The troop, which is part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), arrived in two batches on June 28 and 29, respectively.

This was confirmed to this newspaper by André-Michel Essoungou, officer in charge of the Public Affairs with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, United Nations yesterday.

During the farewell, the soldiers were warned of the volatile grounds they were flying to in the buffer zone erected by the UN in 1974.

Croatian, Japanese and Austrian peacekeepers at the Golan Heights, annexed by Israel in 1981, left after facing escalating violence spilling over from the Syrian civil conflict.

Mr Essoungou said the troop would contribute to UNDOF’s efforts in maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Syria as prescribed by the 1974 Agreement of Disengagement between the two forces.

He said the troop under the UNDOF would supervise the area of separation by manning static positions in and on the perimetres of the area of separation to ensure that military forces of either party were kept away from each other.

“The mission also carries out liaison with the parties to prevent escalation of tension,” Mr Essoungou said.

“The Fijian troop replaced the Croatian contingent, which was manning UN positions in the North of the area of separation and the Japanese contingent, which were part of the UNDOF Logistics Battalion.”

He said the deployment of the Fijian troop was critical to the efforts to maintain UNDOF as a credible presence on the Golan.

“The mission remains a vital element in the UN commitment to maintain stability on the Golan and international peace and security.”

-fiji times

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