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Helicopter unit to return from United Nations Middle East peacekeeping task



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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1979. NO. 210/79

HELICOPTER UNIT TO RETURN FROM UNITED NATIONS

MIDDLE EAST PEACEKEEPING TASK

■ The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew

Peacock, and the Minister for Defence, Mr D.J. Killen,

announced today that a unit of 45 Royal Australian Air

Force and three Royal Australian Navy air and ground

crew personnel, which had operated four Iroquois helicopters

as part of the United Nations Emergency Force in the

Middle East, would return to Australia late this month.

The unit first _ joined the United Nations force at Ismailia

in June 1976.

The UNEF peacekeeping mandate lapsed on July 24,

and since then the Australian contingent had assisted with

the rundown of the United Nations force.

The Ministers said that the unit's performance

had demonstrated a ;high standard of professionalism which

could only enhance Australia's reputation. They added that,

although the unit was now returning at the end of the UNEF

task, Australia would always be prepared to consider providing

a contribution to any United Nations force which may be

developed to assist in peacekeeping in the Sinai in the

future.

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In this regard, they said, if there was

significant progress towards the development of such a

force before the Australian contingent left the Middle East,

and there was a request to transfer the unit to the new force,

consideration would be given to reviewing the decision to

withdraw.

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