Hon Andrew Little
Minister of Defence
Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Foreign Affairs
New Zealand will again contribute to the leadership of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, with a senior New Zealand Defence Force officer returning as Interim Force Commander.
Defence Minister Andrew Little and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced the deployment of New Zealand Army officer Major General Evan Williams to the role. The NZDF will also deploy two additional personnel to support him.
Major General Williams will lead the MFO for up to six months from October. He previously led the organisation for three-and-a-half years from 2019.
“Major General Williams is highly qualified for this interim role and is held in high regard within the MFO,” Andrew Little said.
“This is a reflection of New Zealand’s standing in the world and the trust our partners place in New Zealand.”
“We are committed to collective security efforts and the international rules-based system, and this role demonstrates New Zealand’s ability and willingness to continue to contribute to these efforts at the highest level,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
The MFO is a neutral arbiter in monitoring the security provisions of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. It comprises 1,100 international military personnel and an additional 700 local civilian staff.
New Zealand has maintained a consistent military presence in the MFO since its formation in 1982 and two New Zealanders have previously held the Force Commander role – Major General Don McIver in 1989-91 and Major General Warren Whiting in 2010-14.
With 28 personnel, New Zealand’s contribution to the MFO is one of the country’s most significant current commitments to Middle East regional stability and the international rules-based system. This contribution is mandated until 30 September 2024.