The Minister of Defense of Spain, Margarita Robles, stressed this Wednesday that the citizens of the Lebanon they can feel calm, because “where there is a soldier español, the flag of humanity and generosity will always be very high. “
He said it during the first of the two days of his trip to Lebanon, where he arrived this Wednesday to visit the Spanish troops deployed in this country, a contingent of around 600 military who are part of the UN peacekeeping mission in this country (UNIFIL), at a time when it is facing a political, economic and social crisis.
In a few words spoken before dinner at the Base Miguel de Cervantes, located in Marjayoun, a town in the south of the country on the border with Israel, which is home to the bulk of the Spanish contingent deployed in Lebanon, Robles has told the military: “They love you.”
On the 15th anniversary of the deployment of Spanish troops in this country, the minister has assured that she had a special interest in coming to the Lebanon, the second time you do it, to personally thank you for your work, working for peace and the citizens.
“I feel very happy knowing that Spain is so well represented in Lebanon with you,” said Robles, who has insisted on highlighting values of the military such as generosity and humanity.
“We love them and when they talk about their families, let them know that we are very satisfied with the effort they make,” said Robles, who has asked them to take care of themselves against the coronavirus even if they are vaccinated.
Previously, Robles held a videoconference with the UN Deputy Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, to whom he explained that it would be very important for Spain to hold command of the mission next year.
For his part, the UN representative recognized the great work that Spain is doing to contribute to peace at the United Nations.
Robles landed at 2:30 p.m. local time at Rafiq Hariri International Airport in Beirut, along with the head of the Defense Staff (JEMAD), the admiral Teodoro López Calderón; the Secretary of State for Defense, Esperanza Casteleiro, and the commander of the Operations Command, and was received by the Spanish ambassador to the Lebanese Republic, José María Ferré de la Peña.
At the base, the minister received ordinance honors, after which she reviewed the troops and imposed the Grand Cross of Military Merit to the Spanish ambassador.
The Spanish military in Lebanon offers support to the Lebanese Armed Forces to exercise effective control of the southern area of its territory and prevent it from being used for hostile acts.
They carry out patrols on foot and by vehicle to permanently monitor border areas, establish observatories and carry out other activities in collaboration with the Lebanese army to avoid situations that could lead to an escalation of tension.
They also guarantee humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.
The Spanish contingent, which had a maximum of 1,100 soldiers, has been between 600 and 700 troops since 2012.
Since the start of the mission, fifteen Spanish soldiers have died in Lebanon.
The current mandate, approved by the United Nations Security Council for UNIFIL, expires on August 31 of this year.
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