Major-General Beary chairs first tripartite meeting as UNIFIL Head of Mission

25 Aug 2016

Major-General Beary chairs first tripartite meeting as UNIFIL Head of Mission

The Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNIFIL, Major-General Michael Beary, today chaired his first tripartite meeting with senior officials from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the UN position at Ras Al Naqoura.

Today’s discussions focused on issues related to the implementation of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), air and ground violations, situation along the Blue Line and its ongoing visible marking, as well as the issue of withdrawal of Israeli forces from northern Ghajar.

In his remarks, Major-General Beary said he looks forward to carrying on the good work of the historical forum in constructive manner. “I was heartened by the constructive atmosphere of the meeting. I count on your partnership and support both inside and outside of this room, as we forge ahead to bridge obstacles and find agreeable solutions within our mandate on contentious issues along the Blue Line.” He further added: “I am confident we can work together, build a strong partnership, finding common ground and take advantage of this calm to the benefit of all communities.”

Recalling his recent meetings with Lebanese and Israeli officials after taking charge of UNIFIL, Major-General Beary said he was encouraged by their words of determination to maintain peace and stability, and by their strong commitment to the provisions of Resolution 1701.

On the ongoing developments in the Shab’a Farms area, south of the Blue Line which have led to a rise in tension in the area north of the Blue Line, he made it clear to the parties that UNIFIL’s priority is to prevent tension and escalation, and to de-conflict potentially dangerous situations on the ground. He called on the parties to refrain from unilateral actions that can jeopardize the calm and stability of the area.

“I encourage the parties to make the utmost use of this established confidence building mechanism that has continued to deliver, and has proved effective in containing incidents or violations and de-conflicting the situation at critical moments,” said Major-General Beary, stressing the importance of the liaison and coordination arrangements.

While noting the unprecedented level of calm and stability in south Lebanon, he urged the parties to take advantage of UNIFIL’s good offices: “I strongly believe that we have tremendous potential to take things forward thanks to the parties’ commitment to preserve stability along the Blue Line,” he said

Tripartite meetings have been held regularly under the auspices of UNIFIL since the end of the 2006 war. They have become an essential conflict management and confidence-building mechanism between the parties. Such tripartite meetings are the only forum where Lebanese and Israeli representatives meet.

“This tripartite forum has now contributed to a historic, ‘decade of calm’- no small achievement in the current tense regional context. We have an opportunity to move forward and I propose we take it and do so while the situation allows,” said Major-General Beary.