Wien, 24. January 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Sign of acknowledgment of Austria’s commitment in the Middle East"

24.01.2007

Austrian new commander to head UN soldiers in the Golan Heights

Vienna, 24 January 2007 - Austrian Major General Wolfgang Jilke has been appointed the new head of the UN Observer Force in the Golan Heights, making him already the fourth Austrian to occupy this position with UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force). The last Force Commander of UNDOF was Major General Adolf Radauer, whose tenure lasted from 1988 to 1991. "The appointment of an Austrian to this responsible position demonstrates the UN’s acknowledgement and appreciation of the long and reliable Austrian commitment in the Golan Heights. This decision underlines Austria’s visible long-term commitment to peace and the stabilisation of the Middle East," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.

"We have been committed in the region for decades. With a force of about 380 peace-keeping troops we contribute the strongest contingent to UNDOF. In its peace missions within the framework of the UN and EU Austria will continue to give priority to its neighbouring countries in the Balkans and the Middle East," emphasised Plassnik.

UNDOF was founded in 1974 in order to safeguard the ceasefire agreement between Syria and Israel. Austrian UN soldiers have been taken part in this UN mission from the very beginning. A total of about 1,300 Austrians are currently active in peace missions throughout the world.

Contact:
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Press Department
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