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First Hungarian peacekeepers return home from Lebanon

Text: Márton Mészáros Navarrai | Photo: WO Lajos Szabó |  18:42 October 24, 2023

On 19 October, a homecoming ceremony was organized for the first rotation of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeping mission in the Maria Theresa barracks, Budapest.


The 16 soldiers of the Hungarian contingent – which deployed to Lebanon in two phases in March – served for six months as part of a multinational Irish-Polish battalion at UNIFIL Positions (UNP) near At-Tiri and along the Israeli border.

Colonel Norbert Vadászi, Deputy Commander, HDF ‘vitéz Szurmay Sándor’ Budapest Garrison Brigade welcomed the soldiers who had returned home from Beirut during the previous month and lined up for the ceremony in the room named after the eponym of the barracks. In his speech, Colonel Vadászi noted that in July last year, the HDF General Staff tasked the unit with training and forming the Hungarian contingent of the UNIFIL in six rotations until 2025.


“I firmly believe that these operations benefit everyone. You have gained a lot of experiences that you would not have been able to gain during your service here at home. You had the opportunity to cooperate with soldiers of other nations under the control of other nations. Once again, we thank you for having completed your tasks and having stood your ground with honor”, said the deputy commander of the brigade. In his welcome speech, he mentioned that the mission in the Middle East is a major challenge, because Lebanon, a country that had once been prosperous but recently declared national insolvency, underwent a 15-year civil war after the end of the fourth Arab-Israeli war in 1973, and later the Shiite organization Hezbollah gained ground in the country.

The homecoming ceremony finished with issuing personal orders and then with a standing reception. Currently, the second contingent, 16 Hungarian soldiers are serving along the Israeli–Lebanese border section.