Aussie commander in Cyprus completes two-year mission

After two years as the Force Commander United Nations Force in Cyprus, Major General Cheryl Pearce completed her tenure – Minister says on 4 January 2021 – photo taken on 1 January 2021.

CAPTION: Major General Cheryl Pearce signs a Transfer of Authority certificate appointing Colonel Neil Wright as acting Officer in Charge of the military components in Cyprus until the new force commander arrives. Photographer unknown.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said that, since January 2019, Major General Pearce had commanded more than 800 peacekeepers representing 15 nations.

“Her command also marks the first time the UN Force in Cyprus has been led by an all-female leadership team, with other key roles held by Canadian and Chinese personnel.”

The Defence photo caption said Major General Pearce was also the first Australian commander of the UN peacekeeping force on the island.

“I congratulate Major General Pearce for her contribution to global peacekeeping efforts,” Senator Reynolds said.

Major General Pearce said she was honoured to have led a diverse international peacekeeping mission throughout her tenure.

“My command of the United Nations Force in Cyprus has been during a difficult period associated with the global pandemic, but the team here have adapted successfully to meet these challenges,” Major General Pearce said.

“The professionalism and commitment of these personnel has enabled me to deliver on the United Nations mandate and has also contributed to stability in Cyprus.”

She said she was grateful for the commitment and support of her team and the wider ADF community during her two years in Cyprus.

“I was continually impressed by their professionalism and commitment to service, not only as members of Army, but as representatives of Australia.

“I am immensely proud of the men and women who have served under Operation Charter.”

Minister Reynolds said she commended Major General Pearce on her efforts in fostering senior-leadership dialogue with both Republic of Cyprus and Turkish forces on the island, and I wished her every success in the future.

The United Nations Force in Cyprus was established by the UN Security Council in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, and contribute to the maintenance of law and order.

The mission is made up of about 1000 personnel with the majority of those from Argentina, Slovakia and the UK.

 

According to a UN press release, Major General Pearce has had a distinguished career in the Australian Defence Force, as Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy (2017/18). In 2016, Major General Pearce was the Commander of the Australian Joint Task Force Group in Afghanistan. From 2013 to 2016, she served as the Australian Army HQ Chief of Staff and, from 2010 to 2012, as Director of Special Operations Support. She also held the positions of Commandant of the Defence Police Training Centre and Commanding Officer of the 1st Military Police Battalion. Major General Pearce was also the Australian Army’s Provost-Marshal and a military observer with the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor in 2002. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from the University of New England, a Master’s in Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism from Macquarie University and a Master’s of Arts in Defence Studies from Deakin University.

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Brian Hartigan

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