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Eight NZDF Personnel Based In Lebanon And Israel

Media Advisory
17 July 2006

EIGHT NZDF PERSONNEL BASED IN LEBANON AND ISRAEL CONTINUE WITH THEIR UN ROLE

Eight New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Middle East are continuing in their roles with the United Nations (UN) despite ongoing fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The NZDF personnel are in the region as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) mission to the region.

Major General Clive Lilley, the most senior NZDF officer deployed to the region is based at the UNTSO headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel.

Squadron Leader Andrew Greig is the only NZDF officer in Lebanon and has moved with his wife and two sons to a hotel with other UN Military Observers near the port of Tyre where they await UN advise regarding evacuation of dependants from the region.

The remaining NZDF officers are located in the Israeli cities of Tiberius and Jerusalem as well as one officer located in Damascus, Syria. They continue to carry out their UN role as observers.

Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand is in regular daily contact with all NZDF personnel in Lebanon and all have reported in safe and well. "Our NZDF personnel based in the region have a role to fulfill under the UN and will continue to do so" said Rear Admiral Jack Steer, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.

ENDS

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

UNTSO: Israel/Lebanon: Military Observers

Situation as at midday 14 July 2006 NZST: Since hostilities began on 12 July (Israel / Lebanon), all UNTSO personnel in the region have return to the relative safety of their Patrol Bases.

All NZDF personnel are reported as safe and well.

In November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a plan for the partition of Palestine, providing for the creation of an Arab State and a Jewish State, with Jerusalem to be placed under international status. The plan was not accepted by the Palestinian and Arab States. On 14 May 1948, the United Kingdom relinquished its mandate over Palestine and the State of Israel was proclaimed. On the following day, the Palestinian Arabs, assisted by Arab Staed, opened Hostilities against Israel.

The UN decided a truce should be supervised by the UN, which has become known as the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO). The first military observers arrived in the region in June 1948. UNTSO's activities have been and still are spread over territory within five States, and therefore it has relations with five host countries - Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syrian Arab Republic.

New Zealand Defence Force. New Zealand has eight military observers and are deployed with UNTSO in Israel, Lebanon and Syria, serving in various observer posts and staff appointments throughout the region. Major General Clive Lilley (NZ Army) holds the appointment of UNTSO Chief of Staff.

ENDS

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