04 September 2013
On 1 September 2013, UNIFIL Turkish Engineering Construction Company (TURKCOY) has completed its withdrawal from UNIFIL’s Area of Operation following the decision of the Turkish Government.
Turkey will continue to be a troop contributing country in UNIFIL and maintain its presence in UNIFIL Maritime Task Force where it currently contributes one fast patrol boat and 58 peacekeepers.
Within the overall strength of UNIFIL, there are routine changes in the composition of troops from different contributing countries. This configuration is worked out by the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in consultation with the troop contributing countries.
The withdrawal of troops is a constant process in all UN peacekeeping missions whereby troops from certain countries are reduced and other countries increase their participation or new troop contributing countries join. What is important is that in this process the operational capability of UNIFIL is maintained on the ground in order to effectively perform our mandated tasks.
Major-General Paolo Serra thanked the Turkish Engineering Construction Company for the tremendous work done for the Mission since 2006:”The Turkish peacekeepers have been part of UNIFIL and have contributed significantly to the peacekeeping effort in southern Lebanon. The Company provided UNIFIL with excellent support with its engineering construction capabilities and expertise. Considerable resources have been dedicated by Turkey not just for operational purposes but also in the form of humanitarian assistance to the people of south Lebanon.”
TURKCOY has successfully accomplished various tasks, including the construction of roads, building of prefabricated accommodation and infrastructure in UNIFIL’s AO. It has also improved the protection of several UNIFIL bases and contributed to the construction of the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naquora” and he added ”In addition to its role as Engineering Construction Company, TURKCOY has donated computers, generators and other materials to schools and municipalities, as well as undertaken renovation of schools, CIMIC projects and medical check-ups for the people of south Lebanon."
In light of this decision UNIFIL has made adequate preparations to ensure continuity of operations without any interruption.