In Lebanon, General Emmanuel Erskine, commanding officer of the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL), has decorated French members of the UN force.
GV: UN officers lined up by open parade ground under UNIFIL flags.
CU: French soldiers salute, on parade, watching (4 shots)
SV: Lebanese children watch as General Emmanuel Erskine takes medal pad containing array of medals (2 shots)
CU: General Erskine pins medal onto soldier chest, and shakes hands
CU: PULL BACK FROM: Medal TO show General shaking hands with another French soldier
CU PULL BACK FROM: pad of medals TP General decorating another soldier
SV AND LV: ranks of decorated soldiers
French soldiers beside their armoured vehicles.
CU: buglers sound call.
SV PAN: French troops march through street.
LV AND SV: Lebanese watch as armoured cars drive past General Erskine and General Cuq. (2 shots)
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Background: In Lebanon, General Emmanuel Erskine, commanding officer of the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL), has decorated French members of the UN force.
SYNOPSIS: The ceremony took place on Thursday (31 August) in the southern Lebanese township of Hariss. General Erskine presented medals to a total of twenty-eight officers, juniors officers and other ranks.
The first French troops, a contingent of almost two hundred crack paratroopers from the Eleventh Parachute Division, arrived in Lebanon on March the 23rd. They were in the vanguard of the UN force sent there to keep the peace following the Israeli invasion and ceasefire earlier that month. They were deployed near the port of Tyre, held by the Palestinians. Early in May, two paratroopers were killed in a fierce battle in the area. General Erskine, at the medals ceremony, praised their efforts and emphasised how difficult their task had been.
It was during the May battle, against guerrillas from the Popular Resistance Front for the Liberation of the South from Occupation and Fascism, that the paratroopers commander, Colonel Jean-Germain Salvan was hit in the legs, and invalided out of the peacekeeping operation. After Thursday's medals ceremony, the French troops marched through the streets of Hariss. General Erskine, and the present French commander, General Cuq, took the salute as the troops, and a file of armoured vehicles, went past.