Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have marked the 40th anniversary of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula.
A military parade on April 1 celebrated the formation of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The MFO consists of the peacekeeping force that monitors the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. It comprises military and civilian personnel from 12 nations, including Australia.
“We recognise those who have gone before us, and recognise the leadership, the courage, the sacrifice, the service and the vision that has bought us to today.”
The MFO Force Commander, Major General Simon Stuart, is the second Australian to command after Major General David Ferguson, who served in the role from 1994 to 1997.
Major General Stuart addressed the parade and thanked the nations involved for their support over the past four decades.
“Thank you to all of the representatives of the international community whose steadfast support over the life of the treaty has been vital to adding transparency, credibility and commitment,” Major General Stuart said.
The original peace treaty was signed in Hebrew, Arabic and English by then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter on March 26, 1979, in Washington, DC.
"Today, the peace endures and prospers because the leaders and peoples of Egypt and Israel have steadfastly chosen to pursue peace."
Major General Stuart said it was a momentous event.
“We recognise those who have gone before us, and recognise the leadership, the courage, the sacrifice, the service and the vision that has bought us to today,” he said.
The MFO Director General, Ambassador Stephen Beecroft, also spoke at the parade.
“Today, the peace endures and prospers because the leaders and peoples of Egypt and Israel have steadfastly chosen to pursue peace, and because governments and peoples around the world ably and unstintingly support them,” Ambassador Beecroft said.
He thanked the MFO on behalf of Egypt and Israel for its enlightened pursuit of peace.
Following the parade, members of the Egyptian and Israeli delegation planted an olive tree at the commemoration site at MFO Headquarters.
Australia’s contribution to the MFO began in 1982 when an Australian-New Zealand helicopter squadron deployed to the Sinai Peninsula.
Currently, 29 ADF members are deployed to Sinai on Operation Mazurka in security, logistics, administration and key staff roles.