Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly announced today that Australia has increased its support to the international Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission in the Sinai which is overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
The MFO was established in 1981 to oversee the United States-brokered Camp David Accords of September 1978 and the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of March 1979.
The increase sees Australia providing financial support to the MFO totalling USD$1.5 million over three years.
The MFO is a non-UN organisation with a mission to observe, verify and report on Israeli and Egyptian implementation of the peace agreements in the region.
Thirteen nations currently contribute personnel to the 1660-strong MFO mission, with Australia being one of the original contributing nations.
The Australian contingent first deployed in March 1982 for four years, and has had a subsequent Australian Defence Force (ADF) continuous presence since 1992.
Australia’s current contribution to the MFO includes 25 personnel in specialised roles on the staff of the Force Commander, led by an Australian Deputy Chief of Operations.
The Australian contingent currently fills a variety of key appointments within almost every Branch of the MFO Force Headquarters.
ADF members assist in the peace process by monitoring the border, preparing daily operational briefings and supporting the Headquarters.
Australia now joins Norway, the Netherlands and the United States in being both a troop and financial contributor to the MFO.
The financial support of USD$1.5 million will be spent on enhanced force-protection measures in the Sinai directly benefiting ADF members serving in the mission.
These force protection measures will include the acquisition and maintenance of fully armoured vehicles and may also include upgrades to MFO bases.
The Director General of MFO, Ambassador David Satterfield, has welcomed the increased Australian support for the MFO mission, stating that “Australia’s commitment to the MFO is long standing, and this decision strengthens Australia’s support for our mission of peace”.
Minister Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Minister Kelly’s Office: Robbie Rynehart (02) 6277 7730 or 0459 810 654