Polish Minister of Defense Visits his Troops in Chad
The Minister of Defense of Poland visited the Polish contingent in Iriba on 6 December 2009 to see first-hand the achievements of the contingent on the ground since its arrival in the country in March 2008, and to welcome the Mongolians who are taking over as the Polish prepare to leave.
The Minister was leading a large delegation comprising over 20 persons, including Parliamentarians, high ranking military officers, and journalists. The Deputy Special Representative of Secretary-General and the military Chief of Staff representing respectively the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the Force Commander also traveled to Iriba for the occasion.
In Iriba, the Minister of Defense met with the top authorities of the region, namely the governor, the sultan, the prefect and the Mayor.
In his address, the Minister confessed that MINURCAT had been a difficult mission for the Polish, owing to the harsh environmental conditions, and to logistical constraints. He acknowledged, however, that the work was made easier thanks to the good cooperation between his troops and the local population. He also said that among the peacekeeping missions in which Poland has played a role, MINURCAT stands out as the only one with a real humanitarian dimension.
The Polish contingent counts 297 soldiers of the 394 present at the time of the Transfer of Authority from EUFOR in March 2009. The Polish Minister of Defense said all the troops will withdraw from Chad by Christmas this year. A group of 140 troops already left on 8 December.