Photo Credit: Israel at the UN
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon with UNDOF Maj. Gen. Francis Vib-Sanzri

Maj. Gen. Francis Vib-Sanziri, commander of the United Nations Security Council’s UNDOF force on the Syrian border, passed away unexpectedly this past Friday during a visit to Eilat.

“The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in Golan Heights announces with the deepest sadness of the tragic demise of the Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNDOF, Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri of Ghana on Friday,19 April 2019 in Israel,” said UNDOF in a release.

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Vib-Sanzri, 62, commanded the UNDOF since 2017. “His leadership, dedication and enthusiasm were invaluable in commanding UNDOF under difficult and complex circumstances. His unexpected death leaves us all disheartened, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and the Government of Ghana for this tragic loss.

“UNDOF salutes the memory of a highly professional and honorable soldier who died in the service of the United Nations and the noble cause of peace.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, eulogized the general and said that “his experience and leadership guided UNDOF in a complex and challenging period that included Iran’s consolidation in Syria and Hezbollah’s activity in the area, which challenged the force’s work.”

Danon issued a condolence note on behalf of Israel to Major General Vib-Sanziri’s family.

The spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also issued a statement to media about the general’s passing, saying the Secretary-General was “deeply saddened” at his sudden passing, and that he “will be remembered for his exemplary career and leadership at the service of United Nations Peacekeeping, including with UNIFIL, UNAMIR, UNMIL and UNAMSIL.

“The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to General Vib-Sanziri’s family and loved ones and to the Government and the Armed Forces of Ghana. He conveys his sympathies to the personnel of UNDOF.”

The IDF expressed the condolences of Israel’s military forces on Saturday night, saying in a statement, “IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, IDF officers, and soldiers are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of the UNDOF head Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri. His hard work and unwavering commitment to regional stability were truly appreciated. He will be sorely missed.”

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