United Nations selects new leader for UNIFIL Lebanon peacekeepers
The United Nations has selected a new leader for its peacekeepers serving in Lebanon, the body said in a press statement on Saturday.
Italy's Major General Stefano Del Col "will shortly complete his assignment", according to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who chose the new top peacekeeper is "grateful" for Del Col's "exemplary service and leadership", the release added.
His replacement, Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz boasts a "long and distinguished career in the Spanish Army" and is presently a defence ministry adviser, UNIFIL said.
He previously spent three tours of service with the UN's Lebanon peacekeepers and has performed three other peacekeeping stints in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He speaks Spanish, English, French and Italian.
UNIFIL was created in 1978 after Israel pulled its troops from its neighbour.
Israel briefly invaded Lebanon that year and would do so again in 1982, occupying parts of the country's south alongside Lebanese militia fighters it supported before ultimately pulling out in 2000.
UNIFIL serves several functions in a strip of southern Lebanon adjacent to Israel.
These include facilitating the entry of humanitarian relief for civilians. The force is about 10,500 strong and is comprised of peacekeepers from 45 nations.
The UN's peacekeepers' responsibilities were expanded following Israel's 2006 war on Lebanon.