Head of UN Peacekeeping Jean-Pierre Lacroix wraps up Lebanon visit
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, today concluded the Lebanon leg of his wider Middle East tour to visit UN Peacekeeping missions, including UNIFIL, and high ranking government officials.
During his three days in Lebanon, Lacroix met with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander, General Joseph Aoun, and the Director General of General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim.
Lacroix also saw first-hand the crucial work done by UNIFIL – in close coordination with its strategic partner, the LAF – in maintaining calm and stability in the UN Mission’s area of operations, along the Blue Line and through its Maritime Task Force, the first and only navy operation serving in a UN peacekeeping role in the world.
Before leaving, Mr. Lacroix praised the continuous support and cooperation received from the Government of Lebanon in implementing UNIFIL’s mandate in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and the operational paragraphs of resolution 2373 (2017).
He also stressed the need for the parties to work together to build on an unprecedented 11-years of relative calm in south Lebanon and use the momentum to explore steps towards a permanent ceasefire between Lebanon and Israel.
“It is important for the leaders on both sides to take advantage of the window of opportunity that UNIFIL has helped provide to work towards a permanent ceasefire and long-term solution to the conflict as envisaged in UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” he said. “A peacekeeping operation helps create the space for political solutions.”
During the visit, Lacroix toured the UNIFIL area of operations and the Blue Line, and was briefed on a range of the Mission’s activities in defusing tensions, including the Mission’s liaison and coordination mechanisms. He especially appreciated the Mission’s role in de-escalating tension through the tripartite forum involving senior Lebanese and Israeli military officials and chaired by UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary.
“I am impressed with the work of UNIFIL and its high tempo of patrolling both during the day and at night as well as their activities to maintain stability especially along the Blue Line,” he said.
He also commended the role of UNIFIL personnel, the men and women who are serving in the Mission, as well as its Force Commander Major General Beary for their work in a very complex regional environment.
Note to Editors:
UNIFIL currently has around 10,500 peacekeepers from 41 countries who carry out some 13,500 operational activities per month, by day and night, in the area of operations and in the sea. UNIFIL is complemented by a six-vessel Maritime Task Force.