Social Protection Minister meets with peacekeepers in Lebanon
Estonia's Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna (IRL) on Friday and Saturday visited Estonian Defence Forces personnel serving on the UNIFIL mission in southern Lebanon.
“Estonia can be very proud of its soldiers who are performing a very important task here, ensuring peace in one of the regions of the world that is very difficult in terms of security,” Tsahkna said according to spokespeople for the Estonian military headquarters. “I'm very glad to hear at our meetings here that Estonian soldiers are praised for their professionalism and calm.”
The minister met with Estonian personnel serving at the headquarters of the joint Finnish-Irish battalion and visited the UN base 6-50 on the Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, where the Estonian infantry platoon Estpla-20 is deployed.
Tsahkna was given an overview of the situation and the unit’s duties by the commander of the Finnish-Irish battalion, Lt. Col. Kari Kaakinen, and met with the commander of UNIFIL, Maj. Gen. Luciano Portolano.
Including staff officers, some 40 Estonian military personnel are currently serving on the UNIFIL mission. Most of them are members of the Estonian unit that is part of the joint Finnish-Irish battalion.
Tasked with monitoring the control line between Israel and Lebanon in collaboration with the Lebanese armed forces, UNIFIL is the biggest international military operation the Estonian Defence Forces are currently involved in. The unit presently serving in Lebanon is the third rotation of Estonian infantry there. In addition, one more member of the Estonian Defence Forces is currently serving in Lebanon on the UN peacekeeping mission UNTSO.