Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna thanked the peacekeepers who had just returned from Lebanon for their service and presented them with mission medals.
Minister of Defence Tshakna said that the contribution and sense of duty of our servicemen is noticed in Estonia as well as the capitals of our allies.
'Servicemen have an obligation to defend the constitutional order of the Republic of Estonia, at the same time you are the promoters of Estonia's defence and foreign policy. Thanks to our servicemen, residents of Estonia can be certain that their security is ensured', said Minister of Defence Tsahkna. ‘There is no shortage of instances where my colleagues from other countries have cited the outstanding professionalism, motivation and ability of Estonian servicemen to approach things with a sense of humour.’
Servicemen and staff officers from Infantry Platoon ESTPLA-22 served for six months as part of the Finnish-Irish (FINIRISHBATT) combined battalion in the UN peacekeeping mission to Lebanon.
ESTPLA-22 began serving in South Lebanon in November of last year. The Estonian peacekeepers were tasked with performing foot and motorised patrols in their area of responsibility, both at night and during the day, manning observation posts and performing other international peacekeeping related tasks. Among other things, the Estonian unit carried out patrols directly along the Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel.
During their rotation, the Estonians performed a total of 356 different patrols, of which 40 were in cooperation with the Lebanese Army.
Infantry Platoon Estpla-22, which returned home, was replaced by Infantry Platoon Estpla-23, which will continue serving as part of the Finnish-Irish (FINIRISHBATT) combined battalion in a company with Finnish servicemen. Including staff officers, nearly 40 Estonian servicemen are currently serving in Lebanon as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission UNIFIL, with the majority formed by the group sized unit. A total of 40 countries are currently contributing to UNIFIL.