The Camp David Accords led to the 1979 Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt, whereby Israel agreed to return the occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.
Pursuant to the ratification of the treaty, an international peacekeeping force, the MFO, was established in 1981 to monitor security in this area.
At present, the MFO is financed by the three signatory nations, Egypt, Israel and USA, while personnel and assets are provided by 13 countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, the Republic of the Fiji Islands, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, USA, Uruguay. Other nations contribute, at different rates, to the Force’s funding: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway and Switzerland.
Headquartered in Rome, MFO is headed by the Director-General (DG), while the Force itself is under the Force Command and is stationed in the Sinai. The Canadian Major General Denis Thompson is the new Force Commander. MFO is deployed in the Eastern part of the Sinai Peninsula and has two main bases: El Gorah in the north, and Sharm-El-Sheikh in the south. The MFO’s mission is “..to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace and employ best efforts to prevent any violation of its terms”.
Italian Contribution to MFO
Italy has been involved in this mission since 1982 providing Costal Patrol Units and personnel. Today, the Italian Coastal Naval Group Ten COMGRUPNAVCOST 10) is located at Sharm-El-Sheikh port and employs ITN Esploratore class patrol vessels(ITS Esploratore, ITS Sentinella, ITS Vedetta, ITS Staffetta) providing, on a rotational basis, naval operational support to the MFO mission, while personnel are in charge of logistics and administrative tasks. The Italian CPUs mission is to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba. The units are also responsible for the support to the local Egyptian authorities taking part in SAR operations and anti-pollution patrols, in compliance with the ITN institutional role.
Since 1982 till today, the 10th Coastal Naval Group has been navigating for almost 500,000 sea-miles, performing almost 140,000 patrolling hours in the Strait of Tiran and in the Gulf of Aqaba.