Defence minister visits Polish soldiers in Lebanon

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on Saturday met soldiers of the Polish Military Contingent serving as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on the border with Israel.

"After a ten-year break, the Polish Army has returned to Lebanon under the blue flag of the UN to take care of peace and bring security to the people of this land, along with forces from other countries, Blaszczak at the Shamrock base near Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon.

The defence minister thanked the Polish soldiers for outstanding professionalism in securing the truce, protecting civilians, supporting the Lebanese authorities and assisting the Lebanese army. "You perform these tasks very well," he said.

Blaszczak, who began his Lebanon visit on Friday, said earlier that the visit's aim was to show that the Polish authorities wanted to ensure the best possible conditions for Polish soldiers serving outside the country.

He added that the top aide to Lebanon's defence minister had thanked him for the Polish Army joining the UN force in Lebanon at a Friday meeting. In Blaszczak's opinion, Poland's active engagement in peacekeeping missions was very important for the country's international position.

This year Poland returned to UN peacekeeping operations in Lebanon after a ten-year break. On November 8, 200 soldiers of the 12th Mechanised Brigade from Szczecin set off for the Middle Eastern country as Poland's first shift on the UN mission.

The main tasks of the UN troops include the protection of civilians, monitoring the demarcation line and supporting the Lebanese government in maintaining peace.