The last 84 Canadian soldiers out of Afghanistan arrived in Cyprus early yesterday for some rest and relaxation before catching a flight back home.
Canada has ended its 12-year mission in Afghanistan. The rest period known as “decompression” has been condensed to 36 hours from three or four days.
Greeting the troops as they arrived at a seaside hotel was Canada’s Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino, who thanked them for their service.
Joining Fantino were veteran Canadian peacekeepers who are on the east Mediterranean island to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. It’s the longest-serving force of its kind.
Some 25,000 Canadian troops have served on the war-divided island over 30 years.
As part of events marking the 50th anniversary of the Canadian mission in Cyprus, Julian Fantino officially opened the House of Canada in Cyprus on Saturday at the hall of Peace on Ledra Street in Nicosia.
Tonight, a photography exhibition entitled “The Canadian Peacekeeping Mission” will be opened by Fantino. The exhibition is inspired by almost 30,000 Canadian peacekeepers who served in Cyprus. It includes exhibits from the Canada War Museum as well as a monument to honour the memory of the 28 Canadian peacekeepers who gave their lives during their mission in Cyprus.
Further events throughout the end of March include a documentary screening of “Our Man in Tehran” tomorrow and Wednesday and a lecture “Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Cyprus’ also on Wednesday.