The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) held a ceremony to observe on Monday the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, paying tribute to thousands of military and civilian personnel for their service.
The UN General Assembly designated May 29 as International UN Peacekeepers Day in February 2003 to pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of the men and women serving in UN peacekeeping operations, and to honor the memory of those who lost their lives.
UNIFIL Mission Head and Force Commander, Major-General Luciano Portolano, stressed that for over 70 years, since 1948 when the first Peacekeeping Mission was established, "UN peacekeeping has been a dedicated and internationally recognized instrument aimed at supporting countries around the world during their difficult transition from conflict to peace."
He also highlighted how during those years "conflicts have changed in form and nature" and that "peacekeeping missions were increasingly deployed where there was little peace to keep."
With particular reference to UNIFIL, Major-General Portolano paid tribute to "over 300 military and civilian peacekeepers" who "lost their lives while serving the peace cause in southern Lebanon," since UNIFIL's establishment in 1978.
"Those heroes, from various backgrounds, all believed that peacekeeping is a global force for good," he added.
Portolano expressed his appreciation for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and security organizations who are UNIFIL's partners in implementing Security Council Resolution 1701.