The transfer of authority ceremony took place at the 'Miguel de Cervantes' Base, near the town of Marjayoun, between the BRILIB XXXVII and BRILIB XXXVIII contingents, completing the transfer of authority in UNIFIL Eastern Sector.
The ceremony was presided over by the Head of Mission and Force Commander, Spanish Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáez, and was attended by the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Jesús Ignacio Santos Aguado, the Chief of Staff of the Operations Command, Iñigo Javier de la Puente Mora-Figueroa, and other Lebanese civilian, religious and military authorities.
The handover of the Operation 'Free Hidalgo' flag between Brigadier General Ignacio Olazabal Elorz and Brigadier General Melchor Marín Elvira symbolised the transfer of responsibility for the fulfilment of the mission that the BRILIB XXXVIII contingent will assume over the next six months.
During his speech, General Marín stressed that the demanding preparation on national territory, the experience of the Legion's Brigade in the UNIFIL mission and the professionalism of the entire contingent are guarantees to carry out the mission with rigour and impartiality. He stressed Spain's commitment to peace, world security and international legality. Finally, the new Head of Sector East has placed himself at the disposal of the Head of Mission and Force Commander, in order to achieve the fulfilment of the mission.
This is the fifth time that the Legion's Brigade has been deployed on Lebanese territory, in compliance with United Nations Resolution 1701 of 11 August 2006, approved by the United Nations Security Council, whose main objective is to guarantee compliance with the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel, to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in establishing their authority in the area, as well as to provide humanitarian access to the civilian population.
The Spanish Armed Forces deployed for the first time in southern Lebanon to integrate the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in September 2006; this first contingent was made up of members of the Legion Brigade.
The Multinational Sector East Brigade, which is led by Spain, is made up of some 3,500 members representing 9 different nationalities (Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Spain, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal and Serbia). Spain contributes with approximately 600 military personnel that make up the BRILIB XXXVIII contingent.