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NZDF Officer's Family Evacuated From Lebanon

21 July 2006

NZDF Officer's Family Evacuated From Lebanon

Squadron Leader Andrew Greig's wife and two sons safely boarded the vessel MV SERENADE in Tyre, Lebanon at approximately 9p.m NZ time 20 July 2006. The vessel is expected to arrive at Cyprus this morning (New Zealand time) with over 160 UN families and non essential UN staff on board.

The evacuation was coordinated by the UN. Squadron Leader Greig and seven other NZDF personnel remain in the Middle East under United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).

Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand is in regular contact with NZDF personnel and all have reported in safe and well. "We continue to montior the situation of our NZDF personnel in the region, as they continue their work with the UN" said Rear Admiral Jack Steer, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.

The NZDF officers are located in the Israeli cities of Tiberius and Jerusalem as well as three officers in Damascus, Syria. Squadron Leader Greig remains in Southern Lebanon at the UN base near the border of Israel and Lebanon.

UNTSO: Israel/Lebanon: Military Observers

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.


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