EU Ambassadors in South Lebanon support UNIFIL’s mission

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18 Jun 2020

EU Ambassadors in South Lebanon support UNIFIL’s mission

A 15-member delegation of the European Union (EU) comprising Ambassadors and senior diplomatic officials accredited to Lebanon, visited the UNIFIL Headquarters as well as the Mission’s area of operations and the Blue Line today.

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col received the delegation, led by the Chargée d’Affaires a.i. of the EU Julia Koch De Biolley, at the UNIFIL HQs in Naqoura. 

The delegation included the Ambassadors and representatives of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Spain.

Major General Del Col briefed the visiting delegation on the crucial work carried by the Mission, together with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), in stabilizing the situation in south Lebanon and along the Blue Line. He also joined the visitors during a tour of the Blue Line near the south-western Lebanese village of Ramyah. 

In his remarks, the UNIFIL head lauded the support of the EU bloc in the Mission’s work, adding that the visit attests to the importance the EU places on UNIFIL’s work in south Lebanon.

“Please be assured that the peacekeepers from your countries have been playing an extremely significant role in maintaining the cessation of hostilities, de-escalating tension in the UNIFIL area of operations and preserving stability along the Blue Line,” he continued. 

“The work of your troops has reinforced the Mission’s strong operational tempo, which is demonstrated by the fact that the area has enjoyed an unprecedented 14 years of calm.”

The Chargée d’Affaires EU a.i. Ms. De Biolley said the EU and its Member States acknowledge UNIFIL’s “unique and important role” in ensuring Lebanon’s security and stability.

“Our joint visit to South Lebanon today is a manifestation of the European Union and its Member States’ continuous commitment to the work of UNIFIL and the Lebanese authorities in ensuring continued peace, security and stability in South Lebanon,” she added. “We continue to support all aspects of UNIFIL's work. Its deployment alongside the Lebanese Armed Forces is crucial to maintaining stability in southern Lebanon and along the Lebanese shores.”

The EU contributes significantly to the implementation of UNIFIL’s mandate in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1701. 

Sixteen of their 27 Member States contribute troops to UNIFIL, accounting for 33 per cent of the Mission’s more than 10,000 peacekeepers. While serving with UNIFIL, peacekeepers from EU countries have been investing monetary and other resources in the development of south Lebanese communities, which in turn has become a stabilizing factor of the area.

Of late, they have ramped up support to the host communities in their collective fight against the COVID-19 Coronavirus. 

In addition, both within and outside the framework of UNIFIL’s mandate, EU Member States have invested significantly in raising the capabilities of the LAF as well as its Navy. 

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col speech