UN Missions: Austria took part in a UN operation for the first time from 1960 to 1963 with a field hospital in the Congo. In 1964 Austria sent a field hospital to Cyprus. Since 1967 Austrians have served as UN military observers in the Near East; from 1972 one, since 1973 two infantry battalions have been engaged in Cyprus and in the Near East (Suez Canal, from 1974 Golan Heights). Since the 1980s ("Diversification") Austrian military and civil observers and police forces have participated in numerous operations worldwide, e.g. police forces in Namibia (1989/90), in Cambodia (1991-1993) and in Iraq (since 1991), a field hospital for Kurd refugees in Iran (1991), and poll-watchers in Nicaragua (1991), South Africa (1994) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (1996). In addition to these UN missions Austria has supplied a transport company for the NATO operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina since 1993; in 1997 Austrian soldiers helped put an end to the civil war in Albania. The legal basis for all international missions is the Entsendegesetz (International Missions Act - 1965, 1997). Since 1960 about 35,000 Austrians have taken part in UN operations.
Literature: E. A. Schmidl, Blaue Helme - Rotes Kreuz, 1995.