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UN chief appoints Filipino general to lead peacekeeping in Golan Heights

By UN

1 February - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named a Filipino general as the new Force Commander for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Golan Heights, tasked with observing the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the region.

Major-General Natalio C. Ecarma will succeed Maj.-Gen. Wolfgang Jilke of Austria as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

Last month, the Security Council extended the mandate of UNDOF – established in May 1974 following the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces after the 1973 war – to run until 30 June 2010.

The Secretary-General voiced his gratitude to Maj.-Gen. Jilke for his outstanding service and leadership of 1,040-strong force over the past three years.

Maj.-Gen. Ecarma will bring extensive experience to his new UN command. Prior to his present assignment as Deputy Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps and Concurrent Commander of Marine Forces in the southern Philippines, the General served as Combat and Service Support Brigade Commander and Marine Brigade Commander.