Australian Major General Simon Stuart has completed two and a half years as Force Commander of the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.
Major General Simon Stuart handed command to Major General Evan Williams from the New Zealand Defence Force.
The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) has been instrumental to security in the Middle East, providing a means to resolve disagreements over the implementation of the peace treaty.
MAJGEN Stewart said Australia has a long history of supporting the MFO and is one of only 13 nations contributing personnel to the peacekeeping operation.
“Australia continues to support this operation in helping to supervise and implement security arrangements under the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.”
“Australia’s military assistance – from commanders to conducting reconnaissance patrols – continues to play an important part in keeping the peace in the Sinai,” MAJGEN Stewart said.
Twenty-seven ADF members working under Operation Mazurka are assisting the MFO in the Sinai, Egypt.
The MFO is a non-UN organisation established in 1981 to oversee longstanding peace agreements in the region.
“The MFO has been remarkably effective in supporting ongoing security cooperation in the Sinai,” MAJGEN Stuart said.
The MFO is maintained by 12 nations, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Fiji and France. Australia’s involvement in the MFO began in early 1982 with the formation of an Australia-New Zealand combined helicopter squadron.
MAJGEN Stewart said, “For over 35 years, many hundreds of Australian Defence Force women and men have worked tirelessly for peace in this region, and they should be very proud of their role in this important cause.”
ADF members assist in the peace process by monitoring the border, preparing daily operational briefings and supporting the headquarters.
MAJGEN Stuart is only the second Australian to hold the position of Force Commander. The first was Major General David Ferguson, who served from 1994 to 1997.