USG Mr. Hervé Ladsous visited UNDOF

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14 May 2013

USG Mr. Hervé Ladsous visited UNDOF

May 12, 2013 – The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Hervé Ladsous paid a visit to UNDOF in Camp Ziouani.

The reason for the visit was to meet the UNDOF leadership on the one hand but also to be updated on the current situation in UNDOF's Area of Responsibility on the other hand.

Mr. Ladsous arrived in the Camp on Sunday afternoon just after visiting UNIFIL on the same day. He was accompanied by Ms. Kristina Segulja, Senior Political Affairs Officer. On his arrival a Guard of Honor was presented by the logistic battalion to the distinguished guests with a warm welcome by Force Commander UNDOF, MGen I. S. Singha.

After that the Force Commander briefed Mr. Ladsous in detail about UNDOF issues. Also the Chief of Staff UNTSO, MGen Juha Kilpiä and his deputy Col Paul Gauchat as well as the new appointed Deputy Force Commander UNDOF, BGen Stefan Thaller, together with Chief of Staff UNDOF Col Cirilito Sobejana and the Commanding Officers of the Austrian, Philippine and Indian Battalion, LtCol Paul Schneider, LtCol Nolie Anquillano and LtCol Mumuksh Mehra attended the meeting. The UNDOF civilian staff was represented by Chief Mission Support Mr. Bernard Lee and CSO Mr. Anthony Feeney as well as CTO Mr. Peter de Vlugt. COS UNTSO gave an overview about the UNTSO related subjects followed by a discussion amongst Mr. Ladsous, FC UNDOF and COS UNTSO behind closed doors.

After meeting UNDOF and UNTSO leadership Mr. Ladsous wanted to address UNDOF soldiers personally. The best location for that in Camp Ziouani is the Khetarpal Hall, a large event hall, built for such purposes. Before entering the hall, Mr. Ladsous was honored with a Philippine ribbon lei, a traditional Philippine award and proud to congratulate the four released Filipino soldiers, who were captured staying in custody for five exhausting und stressful days, together with the involved staff personally. In the Khetarpal Hall then, in front of more than one hundred UNDOF soldiers and civilian personnel, he highly commended the cooperation of all involved personnel who brought the release of comrades to a happy end. Mr. Ladsous expressed his deep gratitude to all UNDOF peacekeepers for their total commitment and great efforts in these challenging times. Representatively CO PHILBATT, LtCol Anquillano, was awarded by the Under-Secretary-General with a certificate of appreciation.

The Force Commander MGen Singha lauded his peacekeepers for doing an excellent job and asked them to hold together in such a critical moment, too. Not to forget that it was the second time that UNDOF peacekeepers were captured, the first incident with 21 kidnapped Filipinos happened in March this year.
In addition Mr. Ladsous promised to carry on providing additional equipment for the troops such as armored vehicles. He highlighted this as a "must to have" for UNDOF personnel in order to conduct their duty more safely and more professional.

At the end of the visit an excellent traditional Philippine dinner was served at the INDCON Officers Mess. Mr. Ladsous and Ms. Kristina Segulja, armed with highly topical and face-to-face impressions, left the Golan Heights to Jerusalem in the early evening.