Extraordinary Tripartite Meeting held on 16 December 2013
Following the serious incident of last night in which an IDF soldier on the Israeli side of the Blue Line was killed by fire from a Lebanese soldier, UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra convened and chaired an extraordinary Tripartite meeting today with senior officers from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the UN Position at Ras Al Naqoura crossing.
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly also attended and addressed the meeting on behalf of the UN Secretary-General.
The purpose of the meeting was to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, in order to fully restore the cessation of hostilities and to discuss measures to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.
Following the tripartite meeting, UNIFIL Force Commander said: “This was a grave incident of shooting across the Blue Line which led to tragic loss of life and I stressed at the meeting that this must remain an isolated incident.”
“All the circumstances of this incident are not clear at this time, but preliminary findings indicate that it was an individual action by a soldier in contravention of the existing operational rules and procedures. At this stage it is imperative that UNIFIL’s investigation in cooperation with the parties, and in particular with the LAF, is concluded as soon as possible.”
“We discussed concrete steps to strengthen the existing security arrangements along the Blue Line to prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents.”
“I was encouraged by the discussion at the tripartite meeting and by the way the parties approached the issues at hand. They affirmed their full commitment to the cessation of hostilities. In this context, the parties emphasized their interest in preserving calm and stability along the Blue Line and pledged to work with UNIFIL to strengthen security arrangements to this end.”
“I have been engaged with my counterparts on both sides throughout the developments following the incident and I was encouraged by the full cooperation I received from them in restoring calm in the area.”
“Liaison and coordination arrangements have proven again to be vital in such dangerous situations and an essential mechanism to de-conflict the situation following any incident.”