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Poland to withdraw form UN's UNIFIL mission in Lebanon
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2009-04-11 16:12
With the conclusion of the 31st shift of the Polish military contingent in Lebanon, Poland will withdraw from the participation in the UN UNIFIL mission in Lebanon this October, Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said Friday.

Decision to end Poland's participation in the mission follows the adoption by the government of a strategy giving priority to NATO and EU operations, the minister, who paid a visit to Lebanon this week, was quoted as saying by Polish news agency PAP.

"Poland is more and more involved in NATO and EU missions. Thus we are returning from UN missions," Klich said, adding that "they ceased to play such an important role for the security of Poland as it has been the case in the past."

Minister Klich said that due to this same reason, Poland will also withdraw from UN missions in Chad and the Golan Heights this fall.

The first shift of Polish soldiers arrived in Lebanon in 1992. The present, 30th shift, counts some 500 soldiers.

UNIFIL troops in southern Lebanon were enhanced in 2006 under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended a 34-day devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah, over 12,000 troops from 20 different countries have been deployed in southern Lebanon between the Litani river and the blue line on the Lebanese-Israeli borders.

According to UN resolution 1701, the Lebanese army would be in control of the area and coordinate with UNIFIL troops, prohibiting any other armed group from operating there.

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