Austria appointed to head UN Golan Heights corps

Austria's Wolfgang Jilke has been appointed as head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights, the country's foreign ministry said Wednesday. The United Nations set up the force in 1974, following the 1973 Yom Kippur war, to monitor the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights. "The appointment of an Austrian to this position of responsibility shows the UN's acknowledgment and appreciation of Austria's long-standing and dependable engagement on the Golan," Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said in a statement. Austria has been engaged on the Golan for decades and makes up the largest contingent of the UN Disengagement Observer Force with roughly 380 peacekeepers, Plassnik said. Jilke, a major general, is the fourth Austrian to hold the prestigious post, according to the statement.