FIJICON - A new contingent has arrived

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8 Jul 2013

FIJICON - A new contingent has arrived

June 28, 2013 – Shortly after midnight, the 182-strong Fijian Contingent arrived at Beirut International Airport.

From Beirut, the contingent was transported by road via the Masna'a border crossing to Damascus, where they were received by the Chief Mission Support UNDOF, Mr. Bernard Lee. The first group of around 60 persons, headed by the FIJICON National Contingent Commander Ltcol Siiveni Tukaituraga Qiliho, with their equipment proceeded in an armored convoy directly to Camp Faouar, where they were welcomed by the Deputy Force Commander BGen Stefan Thaller and the Commanding Officer AUSBATT LtCol Paul Schneider. The remaining group stayed overnight in Damascus and was taken in two separate convoys to Camp Faouar the following day.

All contingent members received an initial orientation and induction conducted by their Austrian predecessors, in the course of 29th and 30th June in Camp Faouar. Immediately thereafter, 120 members of the Fijian contingent were deployed to the positions of the former second and third AUSBATT companies in the northern part of UNDOF's area of operations, where the procedure is currently underway with PHILBATT and LOGBATT soldiers, who currently were manning these positions.

At the same time the induction of the Fijian UNDOF HQ Staff Officers, the Fijian medical team as well as the Camp Faouar guard platoon commenced. The induction of the Fijian guard platoon as the new Camp Faouar fire brigade will be completed by the end of July.

The PHILBATT and LOGBATT peacekeepers soon will start to move out of these positions and reverting back to their original responsibilities except for the PHILBATT personnel deployed to the four positions in the Mt. Hermon area. The hand-over/take-over process is supported by the outgoing AUSBATT leadership, with a focus on providing details on UNDOF procedures, SOPs, areal introduction and introduction to key personnel in the area of operations. It is the intention to complete this process by 5th July, when another 56 AUSBATT peacekeepers will leave the mission area.

Once the Fijian troops have taken over responsibility on their positions and at the same time PHILBATT and LOGBATT peacekeepers have been again fully redeployed, UNDOF will be less strained and return to a more sustainable operational strength than the departure of AUTCON would have left it with.