BEIRUT, July 1 (Xinhua) -- A total of 410 peacekeepers of the 20th Chinese peacekeeping contingent to Lebanon were awarded UN medals of peace on Friday.
As part of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Chinese peacekeepers were hailed as "great ambassadors" of China and Chinese armed forces by Aroldo Lazaro Saenz, UNIFIL's head of Mission and Force Commander, at a medal parade ceremony.
The commander expressed his sincere gratitude to the Chinese government for its continuous support and contribution to UNIFIL.
The ceremony, held at the Chinese peacekeepers' camp in Hanniyah village in southern Lebanon, was also attended by Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Qian Minjian, representatives of the Lebanese armed forces, local officials and fellow peacekeepers.
Saenz told the Chinese peacekeepers that "the well-deserved medal is a token of appreciation in recognition of your hard work, as well as the significant contribution and commitment you gave" to this peace mission in southern Lebanon in the past months.
Saenz highly praised the Chinese peacekeepers for their work, including clearing dangerous minefields, developing construction works and providing medical assistance.
The Chinese peacekeepers "have assisted many local communities here, improving their living conditions, providing medical care and strengthening the bonds with them," he said, adding that this is "a symbol of your active role in maintaining peace and stability in southern Lebanon and the people who live here."
The 20th Chinese peacekeeping contingent, which includes a multi-functional engineer detachment, a construction engineer detachment and a medical detachment, has been serving the UN Mission since August 2021.
More than 7,000 Chinese peacekeepers have been dispatched to Lebanon since 2006.
The UN Security Council established the UNIFIL on March 19, 1978 to monitor the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon. Its mandate was expanded following the 2006 Lebanon War.