Defence Minister Bou Saab visits UNIFIL HQ, tours Blue Line

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24 Apr 2019

Defence Minister Bou Saab visits UNIFIL HQ, tours Blue Line

Lebanon’s Minister of Defence, Elias Bou Saab, led a delegation today to the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura and visited areas along the Blue Line, where he was briefed on UNIFIL’s work, together with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), in maintaining the existing calm.

In Naqoura, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col welcomed the delegation, which included LAF Commander General Joseph Aoun. The UNIFIL head briefed the delegation on the situation in the Mission’s area of operations and along the Blue Line.

Major General Del Col highlighted the importance of the liaison, coordination and tripartite mechanism in mitigating tensions or incidents, Blue Line marking process, efforts to enhance the deployment of the LAF in the UNIFIL area of operations, as well as steps to ensure the freedom of movement of UNIFIL personnel in the area.

He underlined the importance of ensuring swift establishment of the planned LAF Model Regiment in southern Lebanon. At sea, he called for progress in furthering a transition strategy for the LAF Navy to gradually take over responsibilities of UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force.

Later in the day, Major General Del Col accompanied the Minister of Defence on a tour of the Blue Line where UNIFIL officials provided field briefings on issues relating to security and stability along the Blue Line.

Following the visit, Major General Del Col said: “I was delighted to welcome His Excellency Elias Bou Saab on his maiden visit to UNIFIL today and his first field trip in Lebanon since assuming Office as Minister of Defence. This was a strong statement of support for UNIFIL and of the commitment of the Government of Lebanon to resolution 1701.”

“We are doing a lot of activities with the Lebanese Armed Forces, our strategic partner, so it was a particular pleasure for me to demonstrate what we have done together, as well as to explore with the Minister ways to further enhance our joint efforts towards the mandated objectives.”