25 February 2020 I United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Major General Ishwar Hamal as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
UNDOF, established in May 1974 by a Security Council resolution, is tasked with the critical objective of maintaining ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces and to supervise the implementation of the disengagement agreement between the two sides.
Since joining the Nepalese Army in 1983, Major General Hamal has served in a variety of assignments and held several command and staff officer appointments including Infantry Brigade Commander, Director of Military Operations and Military Secretary at Army Headquarters, UN stated yesterday. Most recently, he served as the Commandant of the Nepali Army Command and Staff College and was Division Commander in the Mid-Eastern Division.
It is noteworthy that the previous head of the UNDOF was also from Nepal. Major General Shivaram Kharel served as the Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNDOF from June to October 2019, UN News Service said.
Major General Hamal is not a new name in the UN peacekeeping environment.
“He has extensive United Nations peacekeeping experience, having served as a Military Observer with the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) from 2006 to 2007, and as a Nepalese contingent member in the United Nations Protection Force from 1993 to 1994. Major General Hamal also served in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as a Battalion Chief Operations Officer in 2000 and as a Platoon Commander from 1990 to 1991,” UN said.
Nepal has been an integral part of the UN peacekeeping operations for over half a century. According to information available on the Nepalese Army website, some 1,29,899 Nepalese soldiers have so far participated in various missions across the world.