UNIFIL celebrates UN Day Anniversary
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today held a ceremony at its headquarters in Naqoura, to mark the 69th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.
During this international observance of the UN Day, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano presented certificates of recognition to 39 Lebanese staff members who have completed 25, 30 or 35 years of service with the United Nations.
The ceremony was attended by peacekeepers representing the 38 national contingents that make up UNIFIL, representatives of the Lebanese authorities, religious leaders, the Lebanese Armed Forces and members of the International community.
Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major-General Luciano Portolano and LAF Brigadier-General Mohammed Janbay, representing the LAF Commander, laid wreaths at the UNIFIL Cenotaph in honour of the peacekeepers who lost their lives in the service of peace.
Addressing the ceremony, Major-General Portolano said: "The partnership between Lebanon and the United Nations is a solid and long-standing one. With the presence of UNIFIL on Lebanese soil since 1978, Lebanon has been the key focus of United Nations Peacekeeping for over three decades."
Major-General Portolano expressed deep appreciation for the work done by the LAF, in coordination with UNIFIL: "The close cooperation since 2006 has sustained an unprecedented period of stability in southern Lebanon. Now they are facing serious challenges elsewhere in the country, but Lebanon's commitment to resolution 1701 remains unreserved and our cooperation with LAF is growing stronger."
"Since 1978, tens of thousands of military and civilian peacekeepers have lived and worked among South Lebanese communities. Over 300 UNIFIL peacekeepers have given their lives for the cause of peace. Today, we pay tribute to them and their families for their sacrifice," he added.
Currently, 38 countries contribute the over 10,000 troops to UNIFIL.
In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly declared 24 October, the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, as a day that "shall be devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for its work." The UN Day is marked throughout the world.
UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano speech