Defence Support to Lebanon Evacuations - Thursday 27 July 2006

Current media reporting that Australia has withdrawn troops from the United Nations Troop Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) is incorrect.

Australia has 11 personnel currently assigned to UNTSO who remain on their tasks.

The ADF personnel serving as United Nations Military Observers with UNTSO rotate through various observation posts including southern Lebanon.

The Australian Government has deployed Australian Defence Force specialist personnel to support the evacuation of Australian nationals from Lebanon as part of a coordinated Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-led Australian Government response.

This deployment includes specialist ADF staff who are supporting the Australian Embassy in Beirut. In recent days a small number of these ADF personnel have traveled into southern Lebanon to assist in the evacuation of Australian nationals.

Due to increasing threat levels in Southern Lebanon, this group of staff has returned and will now not move south of Beirut.

The ADF personnel will continue to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade management of the evacuation.

Media contacts
Nigel Blunden
(Dr Nelson)
02 6277 7800
0407 632 931

Defence Media Liaison
02 6265 3343
0408 498 664