ASG Khiari concludes assessment mission to Lebanon
A nine-member UN delegation led by Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari today concluded a weeklong visit to Lebanon and the UNIFIL area of operations, as part of an assessment of UNIFIL’s resources. During the visit, ASG Khiari was accompanied by UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col.
The visit was pursuant to a request to the Secretary-General by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2485, adopted in August last year, to conduct and provide the Council by 1 June 2020 with such an assessment, also taking into consideration the troop ceiling and the civilian component of UNIFIL.
During its mission, the UN delegation led by Mr. Khiari, who is the Assistant Secretary-General for Middle East, Asia and the Pacific in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, met with senior Lebanese officials as well as UN officials and diplomatic representatives in Beirut.
Among the officials Mr. Khiari met during the assessment mission were Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Hassan Diab, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Zeina Akar, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nassif Hitti, Lebanese Army Commander General Joseph Aoun.
Earlier in the week, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col received the delegation in Naqoura and briefed them on the security situation in the area of operations and along the Blue Line. While in Lebanon, the delegation also visited the area and saw first hand the work of UNIFIL peacekeepers, both on ground and at sea, in furthering peace in south Lebanon and along the Blue Line.
In his remarks at the end of the visit, Mr. Khiari said the work of implementing Security Council Resolution 1701 is geared towards supporting the extension of state authority and to the maintenance of cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel.
“I am encouraged by the strong commitment of Lebanese officials as well as the members of the diplomatic corps to support the work of UNIFIL and UNSCOL in the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701,” he said.
“Consultations in Lebanon show consensus on the extent to which the Lebanese authorities rely on UNIFIL to preserve stability along the Blue Line” he continued. “We also looked at ways to optimize the operations of UNIFIL, working together with and in support of its strategic partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.”