Australian peacekeeping veteran set to head UN’s oldest peacekeeping mission

14 November 2006 –

An Australian veteran of United Nations peacekeeping missions, Major-General Ian Campbell Gordon, is set to become Chief of Staff of the Jerusalem-based UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the first such operation the world body set up almost 60 years ago.

Maj-Gen. Gordon, who will succeed Maj-Gen. Clive Lilley of New Zealand at the end of this month, served as Deputy Force Commander with the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) from 2001-2002 and, 10 years before, with the UN Mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Mr. Annan has informed the Security Council of his intention to make the appointment, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said today.

UNTSO, established in May 1948 to assist the UN Mediator and the Truce Commission in supervising the observance of the truce in Palestine, has a current strength of more than 150 military observers, 100 international civilian personnel and 120 local civilian staff.

Since its inception, UNTSO has performed various tasks entrusted to it by the UN Security Council, including the supervision of the General Armistice Agreements of 1949 and the observation of the ceasefire in the Suez Canal area and the Golan Heights following the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967.

At present, UNTSO assists and cooperates with the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights in the Israel-Syria sector, and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the Israel-Lebanon sector. It also has a presence in the Egypt-Israel sector in the Sinai and maintains offices in Beirut and Damascus.

Forty-eight UNTSO personnel have lost their lives over the course of its operations – 18 troops, 18 military observers, 8 international staff and 4 local civilian staff.

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