Major General Patrick Gauchat appointed head of United Nations peacekeeping mission UNTSO

Bern, 29.10.2021 - On 28 October 2021 UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Major General Patrick Gauchat as Head of Mission of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the Middle East. This is the first time a Swiss officer has been given command of a UN peacekeeping mission. The Federal Council was informed of his planned deployment at its meeting on 24 September.

For Switzerland, the appointment of Major General Gauchat comes in recognition of the country's contribution to international peacekeeping missions over many years. Around 250 members of the Swiss Armed Forces are currently serving voluntarily in military peacekeeping activities.

Oldest UN peacekeeping mission

The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization was created by the UN Security Council in 1948, making it the UN's oldest peacekeeping mission. It has around 150 unarmed military observers and over 200 civilian staff. Switzerland attaches great importance to the work of UNTSO, which plays a key role in reducing risk and preventing the escalation of violence in this unstable region. With 13 military personnel in UNTSO, Switzerland contributes one of the largest national contingents of military observers.

UNTSO's mandate is primarily to monitor ceasefires and armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region.

Military observers in the Golan and south Lebanon

UNTSO currently provides military observers in the Golan (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, UNDOF) and in south Lebanon (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL). In addition, the organisation works to facilitate regional dialogue. UNTSO performs its various tasks through liaison offices in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Major General Patrick Gauchat currently heads the Swiss delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) in Korea. He has many years of experience in international peace missions, having held various positions in the Middle East, the Balkans, Korea and at UN headquarters in New York. In his military career, Major General Gauchat served as Deputy Commander of Territorial Region 1 until the end of 2017.

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