NEW YORK — Armenia plans to join a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon with a small contingent of troops in October, a senior Armenian diplomat said on Monday.
According to the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan, the Armenian ambassador to the UN, Zohrab Mnatsakanian, made the announcement during hearings on worldwide peacekeeping operations that were held at the UN Security Council in New York. In his remarks, the Armenian ambassador underscored the UN’s key role in these operations.
Speaking on Armenia’s respective track-record, the diplomat stressed the significant potential which the country has formed in the last two decades.
“Armenia has accumulated considerable experience as a country involved in peacekeeping operations. Coming in October, Armenia plans to engage in UN peacekeeping activities in Lebanon.
“As an OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] member state, Armenia considers the organization’s potential role in peacekeeping operations according to each situation, and cooperation with the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] member states in peacekeeping training,” Ambassador Mnatsakanian specifically stated.
Plans for the deployment of some 60 Armenian soldiers near Lebanon’s borders with Israel and Syria were first announced by Yerevan in June last year. Armenia’s top army general visited Italy shortly afterwards to discuss practical modalities of their participation in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The multinational mission led by an Italian general currently numbers around 11,000 troops from over 30 countries, including Italy, Germany and Turkey.
The dispatch of Armenian soldiers to Lebanon has to be approved by Armenia’s parliament. The National Assembly has previously allowed the government to send similar peacekeeping contingents to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Some 120 Armenian soldiers are currently deployed in Afghanistan, while 35 others serve in Kosovo.