Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 02, 2011 16:55 ET

Associate Minister of National Defence Julian Fantino Visits Canadian Forces Personnel Deployed on Operation MOBILE

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 2, 2011) - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, today met with Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, Operational Commander for Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, in Naples to receive an operational update on the progression of the ongoing air campaign in Libya. Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR is the NATO-led effort to protect civilians in Libya, impose an arms embargo, and implement a no-fly zone authorized by U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1973 and 1970 earlier this year.

"As Minister MacKay said during his visit last month, the hard work being carried out by our Canadian Forces personnel represents Canada's continuing commitment to international security and cooperation. We are taking a principled stand in global affairs to support Canadian values such as freedom, democracy, protection of human rights and the rule of law," said Minister Fantino. "Our men and women in uniform are doing a fantastic job for which all Canadians can be proud. They are our greatest ambassadors and I am proud to bear witness in Italy to their dedication, professionalism and their honour of duty."

During his visit to Italy, Minister Fantino will also meet with Canadian Forces personnel deployed in Trapani-Birgi, and Sigonella, Italy as part of Operation MOBILE.

"Canadians are proud of the work Canadian Forces personnel are undertaking in supporting our NATO allies to reduce the violence and diminish the Gadhafi regime's military capacity to threaten its own people," added Minister Fantino.

Task Force Libeccio is the air component deployed on Operation MOBILE. Task Force Libeccio aircraft are currently flying from two NATO bases in Italy: Trapani-Birgi, a forward operating base co-located with Vincenzo Florio Airport on the western point of the island of Sicily; and Sigonella, a major naval air base on the eastern coast of Sicily. Task Force Libeccio operations are directed by the Task Force Commander (also referred to as the Air Component Commander) and his staff from a third NATO base, the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre 5 (CAOC 5) in Poggio Renatico, Italy.

Note to Editor: For more information and imagery on Operation MOBILE, visit the website of the Canadian Forces Expeditionary Force Command at: http://www.comfec-cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/mobile/index-eng.asp

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