Chief of Defence Staff, admiral general Teodoro López Calderón, visited the Spanish contingent deployed in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon on March 4 and 5. During the visit he was accompanied by Commander of the Operations Command (CMOPS) Francisco Braco Carbó, Guardia Civil's Deputy Director of Operations (DAO) lieutenant general Pablo Salas Moreno and Spanish Army 'Castillejos' Division Commander, major general Carlos Melero Claudio.
Upon his arrival in Beirut, CHOD was welcomed by the Spanish ambassador José María Ferré de la Peña. Later on, he had a meeting with his lebanese counterpart general Joseph Aoun, and conveyed Spain’s commitment to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), as well as to peace and stability in the south of the country within the framework of UNIFIL. On the other hand, general Aoun thanked Spanish troops for their work and contribution to security south of the Litani River in Lebanon.
Later, at 'Miguel de Cervantes' Base in Marjayoun, where Spain leads the Eastern Sector of the mission, and after being welcomed by General Javier Antonio Miragaya Prieto, Commander of the Spanish Brigade deployed in Lebanon (BRILIB), CHOD was able to learn first-hand about the current situation of the mission within the Sector, the situation of the different Spanish positions, as well as the daily activities conducted by the contingent. Afterwards, He visited some positions and observatories under Spanish responsibility where Post Commanders updateded him on the current situation of the operations.
Before completing his visit to the Spanish-led sector, admiral general Calderón complimented troops for their excellent work, conveying his appreciation for their contribution to peace and stability in southern Lebanon, and also thanking them for the additional effort made to maintain operations, especially during the recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, CHOD travelled to UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura, where he met with Force Commander, Italian major general Stefano del Col, reaffirming that our Armed Forces will continue supporting United Nations efforts in Lebanon to improve stability and security in the area, and emphasising Spain's commitment to continue working to achieve long-term peace in the south of the country. Likewise, general del Col acknowledged the good work that Spanish troops are doing maintaining peace and stability in the eastern sector of the mission, in compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.
After the meeting with UNIFIL's Force Commander, admiral general Calderón gathered with all Spanish personnel stationed at UNIFIL HQ to thank them for their contribution to the mission.
United Nations Mission in Lebanon
The Spanish Armed Forces were deployed to Lebanon in September 2006. The bulk of the contingent in Operation 'Libre Hidalgo' is stationed at Miguel de Cervantes base, near the town of Marjayoun, where the Spanish-led Sector East Headquarters is located. There are also Spanish personnel at the mission headquarters in Naqoura.
The Spanish military conduct patrols on foot and by vehicle to constantly monitor the separation line between Lebanon and Israel. They also set up observatories and carry out other activities in collaboration with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), all aimed at ensuring compliance with UN Resolution 1701 and preventing situations that could lead to an escalation of tension between the parties.
The Multinational Brigade East, led by Spain and commanded by a Spanish general, is made up of some 3,500 troops of nine different nationalities. Spain contributes with 600 men and women. In addition, Spain has 14 postions assigned to Army Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers at UNIFIL's HQ in Naquora.
Since the beginning of the mission, 15 Spanish military personnel have died in Lebanon.