Top Kiwi soldier to head UN’s oldest peacekeeping operation


Major General Arthur Gawn of New Zealand has been named Head of Mission and Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), the world body’s long running peacekeeping operation.

He succeeds Major General Michael Finn of Ireland, who completes his assignment on July 31, after two years of what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called “dedicated leadership.”
“Gawn brings to the position extensive command experience and knowledge of peacekeeping attained through service at the national and international levels”, said a UN statement.

Currently the Chief of Army of New Zealand, a position he has held since 2013, Gawn also held a number of senior positions, including Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Deputy Chief of Army, Land Component Commander and Commander Third Land Force Group.

His peacekeeping experience includes command of Kiwi Company NZFOR in the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia in 1994 and the Third New Zealand Battalion Group in the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor in 2000.

Set up in May 1948, UNTSO was the first ever peacekeeping operation established by the United Nations. Since then, UNTSO military observers have remained in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other UN peacekeeping operations in the region to fulfil their respective mandates.