UNIFIL peacekeepers observe International Day of Peace, 23 September 2009
Naqoura, Lebanon - The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today marked the International Day of Peace in a ceremony held at UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura.
Force Commander Major-General Claudio Graziano reviewed an honour guard from peacekeepers representing the 31 different national contingents that make up UNIFIL. He, together with Lebanese Armed Forces South Area Commander Brigadier-General Maroun Khreisch, laid wreaths at the UNIFIL cenotaph.
The ceremony included a photo exhibition depicting the activities of UNIFIL contingents, which also featured a selection on UNIFIL's women peacekeepers.
Addressing the gathering, Major-General Graziano said that UNIFIL, as part of the United Nations family, works for peace by doing its utmost in ensuring the cessation of hostilities as well as assisting in bringing security and stability to southern Lebanon.
"I think that this Day is the appropriate occasion for all of us to reiterate our determination to make every effort to contribute to the achievement of sustainable peace in southern Lebanon," he said.
The Force Commander stressed "the importance of our continued close cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces", noting that southern Lebanon has been largely peaceful since UNIFIL's expansion and deployment of the Lebanese army to the area in 2006.
"For us in UNIFIL and for the Lebanese people, this Day takes on a particular meaning as UNIFIL symbolizes 30 years of joint efforts towards lasting peace, stability and prosperity in southern Lebanon," Major-General Graziano said.
He paid tribute to the 303 UNIFIL peacekeepers who lost their lives in the line of duty since 1978, including 22 since the 2006 expansion of the peacekeeping force.
Also present at today's ceremony were local authorities, religious leaders, representatives of the Lebanese Armed Forces and the international community.
The International Day of Peace was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence and to promote peaceful resolutions of conflict. There are currently nearly 116,000 peacekeepers from over 160 countries serving in peacekeeping operations around the world. Of these, nearly 13,500 are serving with UNIFIL.
For further information, please contact Yasmina Bouziane UNIFIL Spokesperson:
Tel.: +961 1 827 068 (office)
Fax: +961 1 827 016
View the UNIFIL website: