Slovak peacekeepers awarded for their service to peace in Cyprus
Today, the Minister of Defence of the Slovak Republic, Jaroslav Naď, and the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Ľubomír Svoboda, along with their delegation visited UNFICYP where they met with the Mission’s Force Commander, Major General Ingrid Gjerde. The delegation also attended the medal parade ceremony held in Sector 4. The event was organized to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Slovak contingent in UNFICYP and their contributions to the Mission in this period.
In total, 42 peacekeepers were awarded a UN medal and a commemorative coin. On the occasion, the UN Patrol Base 104 Athienou was renamed as Camp Pribina and Camp General Stefanik received a new sign board.
“All of you gathered here today represent the very best of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic. Sector 4 is geographically large and contains many politically sensitive areas. Your efforts to de-escalate tension and remain impartial during your daily interactions brings great credit to Slovakia and the United Nations. Your contributions have been essential to maintaining calm and security in the buffer zone and in supporting the mission. I know it has been a challenging and different tour. More difficult than you may be expected and hoped for, with COVID as an extra burden on you. It is a great pleasure to award your UNFICYP medal,” stated Major General Ingrid Gjerde.
Slovakia continues to play a key role in UN peacekeeping since the early 1990s, with personnel serving in more than a dozen UN operations. The Slovak contingent’s area of responsibility in UNFICYP is situated in the eastern part of the island, in an area which covers approximately 110 kilometres of the buffer zone. Besides preserving the area, the Slovak troops are also active in UNFICYP headquarters working at the engineering section as well as other areas.
In support of the Mission and in the service of peace, two Slovak peacekeepers have lost their lives in Cyprus.