Thursday, January 29, 2015

UNIFIL Honours fallen Peacekeeper

29 January 2015
A memorial service was held this morning at the Beirut International Airport in honour of a UNIFIL peacekeeper who lost his life yesterday in the line of duty in southern Lebanon.

Lance Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo, a member of the Spanish contingent deployed in UNIFIL Sector East, joined the mission on 13 November 2014. He was killed while deployed at a UN position near Ghajar during the serious firing incident occurred yesterday along the Blue Line. The precise cause of death is as yet undetermined and remains the subject of investigation. Corporal Toledo was a well-respected and dedicated peacekeeper actively working in supporting UNIFIL's mandate under Security Council resolution 1701.

The ceremony was attended by UNIFIL Force Commander and Head of Mission Major-General Luciano Portolano, the Ambassador of Spain in Lebanon Ms. Milagros Hernando Echevarría, UNIFIL Sector East Commander Brigadier-General Antonio Ruiz Olmos, Comandante del Mando de Operationes Admiral Almirante D. Teodoro Esteban Lipez Calderon representing the Government of Spain and a representative of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Officers and troops from the Spanish contingent as well as representatives of other contingents from UNIFIL were also in attendance.

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano expressed his deepest condolences to the family of the peacekeeper and the Spanish authorities: "This tragic incident reminds us of the tasks undertaken by United Nations personnel who are serving far from home, under difficult conditions, to bring peace and prosperity to the people we serve. This is a brave and noble choice."

"Today, as ever, in respect for our fallen colleague, let us all pledge to continue to work tirelessly and courageously towards UNIFIL's goals and mandate," he added.

Major-General Portolano has strongly condemned this serious violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. UNIFIL has launched an investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident.