Foreign minister appreciates Indonesian peacekeepers in Lebanon

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi on Sunday paid a visit to the Garuda Contingent in Port of Beirut, Lebanon, and saluted the Indonesian peacekeeping force for their contribution to the world peace.

"My appreciation goes to the Garuda peacekeeping troops who have become the pride of Indonesia," Foreign Minister Marsudi said in a press statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday night.

During her first day in Lebanon, Minister Marsudi met 100 personnel of the Indonesian Navy, reinforcing the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force, aboard the Usman Harun 359 Warship in Port of Beirut, Lebanon.

Minister Marsudi held a dialog with Indonesian peacekeepers to observe firsthand the challenges and obstacles faced by the troops in the field.

Marsudis visit to Lebanon, from Feb 25-26, shows Indonesias commitment and support for peacekeeping efforts in Lebanon as well as support to the UNs role in promoting international security and peacekeeping.

Also, the last time an Indonesian minister had visited Lebanon to meet the peacekeeping forces was in 2007.

Indonesia has a long history in contributing to world peace.

The Garuda Contingent has taken an active role in peacekeeping operation in Sinai since 1957.

The Garuda Contingent has now become the backbone of UNIFIL maritime operation.

Of 15 countries participating in the UNIFIL maritime operation, only Indonesia and five other countries; Brazil, Germany, Greece, Turkey, and Bangladesh, are contributing their peacekeeping forces along with warships.

The government of Lebanon had asked the UN to establish UNIFIL Maritime Task Force in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1701/2006.

The participation of Indonesian Navy of the Garuda Contingent in the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force began in 2009 at its headquarters in Naquora and Port of Beirut, Lebanon.

The UNIFIL maritime troops duties are among others assisting the Lebanese Navy in supervising the waters and coastline of Lebanon, preventing the trafficking of weapon and illegal goods through Lebanese waters, and training self-reliance of Lebanese Navy.

Meanwhile, the UNIFIL was established by the UN in 1978 to support the implementaiton of the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 425 and 426 asking Israel to withdraw their troops from South Lebanon.

Since 2006, with the mandate of UN Security Council 1701/2006, there had been an increase of personnel of UN peacekeepers.

Indonesia has been the largest contributor for UNIFIL with a total of 1,290 personnel, including 100 from the Indonesian Navy on duty in the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force.

Minister Marsudi during her audience with the Indonesian Navy personnel reiterated the importance of the peacekeepers to maintain their professionalism, performance, discipline, dedication and Indonesian militarys reputation in UNIFIL.

"The world will be able to see Indonesias track record, commitment and contribution to the world peace. We care about world peace, we care about humanitarian issue," Marsudi said.

The visit to Lebanon will also be Indonesias campaign to promote its efforts in global peacekeeping mission since the country is eyeing a seat as a non-permanent member of UN Security Council for 2019-2020 period.

Indonesia is competing with Maldives for this seat for the Asia-Pacific Region.

The election for the non-permanent member of UN SC will be held in New York in June 2018.

On Monday, the second day of her visit to Lebanon, Marsudi is scheduled to meet Lebanese Foreign Minister in a bilateral talk prior to her visit to other group of Indonesian peacekeeping troops of the Mechanic Battalion task Force (Indobatt) on duty in Adchit Al-Qusayr, around 230km from Beirut.

From Lebanon, Minister Marsudi will depart to Kabul, Afghanistan, to accompany Vice President Jusuf Kalla to attend the Kabul Peace Conference.

Source: ANTARA News

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