UNIFIL marks 75th Lebanese Independence Day with a range of key activities
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in south Lebanon marked Lebanon’s 75th Independence Day with a range of activities – from attending the Lebanese Army’s military parade in Beirut today to expressing special appreciation for UNIFIL’s national staff along with famed Lebanese singer Nicolas El Osta.
The UNIFIL National Staff Union (NSU) kicked off the celebrations with a large ceremony in Naqoura on 15 November. It was a fitting mixture of solemnity and celebration.
In his speech, the chairperson of the NSU, Georges Dib, reflected on the history of Lebanon. “We’ve relied on the solidarity that Lebanese people have shown towards their army and government; on the unanimity of the international community that have sent UNIFIL as a peacekeeping force,” said Dib, to a packed audience of civilian national and international staff, as well as uniformed UN Peacekeepers. “These are the factors that help us enjoy peace, safety and security all over our nation,” he added.
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Stefano Del Col thanked the national staff and the local communities in their important efforts in furthering peace in south Lebanon. “UNIFIL places the Lebanese People at the very center of its operations and, together with them, works towards building a sustainable peace,” he said. There was also a moment of silence for those who had lost their lives in working for peace in south Lebanon. The more somber part was followed by a tribute through musical performances. The first by UNIFIL staff member, Monita Youssef, and the second by Nicolas El Osta, who gave a resounding performance that brought people to their feet.
UNIFIL peacekeepers were also proud to participate at the official independence day parade in Beirut alongside the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the Mission’s strategic partner. The event was attended by UNIFIL Chief Major General Del Col.