Australian Major General Simon Stuart has completed two and a half years as Force Commander of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, handing command to Major General Evan Williams from the New Zealand Defence Force.
CAPTION: Outgoing Force Commander of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai, Australian Army Major General Simon Stuart hands over the MFO flag to Ambassador Stephen Beecroft, Director General MFO, during the change of command parade in Sinai, Eygpt. Photo by Captain Jarrad Baldwin.
Major General Stuart said Australia had a long history of supporting the MFO and was one of only 13 nations contributing personnel to the peacekeeping operation.
“Australia continues to support this operation in helping to supervise and implement security arrangements under the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace,” Major General Stuart said.
“Australia’s military assistance – from commanders to conducting reconnaissance patrols – continues to play an important part in keeping the peace in the Sinai.”
“MFO has been instrumental to security in the Middle East, providing a means to resolve disagreements over the implementation of the peace treaty and has been remarkably effective in supporting ongoing security cooperations in the Sinai,” Major General Stuart said.
“For more than 35 years, many hundreds of Australian Defence Force women and men have worked tirelessly for peace in this region and they should be very proud of their role in this important cause.”
MFO was established in 1981 to oversee the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
Australia was one of the first contributing nations.
There are currently 27 Defence personnel in the Australian contingent deployed on Operation Mazurka.
Major General Stuart is only the second Australian to hold the position of Force Commander.
The first was Major General David Ferguson who served from 1994 to 1997.