UNIFIL: KRI Diponegoro eligible for UN mission

April 18, 2009, Beirut -- United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Commander Maj Gen Claudio Graziano said Indonesia`s warship KRI Diponegoro-365 was eligible to be part of the Marine Task Force of the UNIFI (MTF-UNIFIL).

"I highly appreciate Indonesia`s participation in the UN peace-keeping mission in Lebanon, especially in becoming part of MTF-UNIFIL," Graziano said during a cocktail party on board the KRI Diponegoro at Beyrouth port in Lebanon on Friday night.

According to him, Indonesia had warships like KRI Diponegoro which had a capability to meet UN standards to carry out international peace-keeping assignments, especially in South Lebanon.

"The participation of KRI Diponegoro in the MTF-UNIFIL indicates Indonesia`s capability and commitment to supporting he UN mission to keep and maintain security in Lebanon," Graziano said.

He expressed hope that the presence of KRI Diponegoro in Lebanon would motivate UNIFIL to reach its target of creating and maintaining peace both at sea and on the land in South Lebanon.

"Lebanese waters are part of a volatile area where arms smuggling often happens but with the presence of the MTF-UNIFIL the level of conflict in these areas is expected to be reduced significantly," he said.

Graziano added that the presence of KRI Diponegoro would support the improvement in military cooperation between Indonesia and Lebanon, especially between the two countries` navies.

The Indonesian warship, equipped among other things with a BO-105 NV-414 helicopter, arrived at Beyrouth port in Lebanon on April 16, 2009 and will head to its operation zone on April 19.

In Lebanon, KRI Diponegoro would soon join the the MTF UNIFIL`s Commander Task Force (CTF)-448 which already comprises warships from France, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Germany.

KRI Diponegoro-365 as Konga XXVIII`s Maritime Task Force would be posted in Zone I together with the Belgium contingent.

National Defense Forces (TNI) Chief General Djoko Santoso said in Jakarta recently that it was for the first time that TNI, especially the Navy, had sent a maritime task force to join a UN peace keeping force.

He said KRI Diponegoro would serve as part of MTF UNIFIL for six months until October 2009, and if the mission was successful, TNI would send another warship.

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