Marking Peace Day, UNIFIL head stresses cooperation for lasting peace and development
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today marked the International Day of Peace with a ceremony in Naqoura, a photo exhibition in Beirut and a message from its Head of Mission that cooperation of all parties is essential to achieving sustained stability and peace in south Lebanon.
Addressing a ceremony to mark the Day, which falls on 21 September, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col said efforts must be geared towards a permanent ceasefire and lasting peace.
“The role of UNIFIL is to support and enable - together with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the Government of Lebanon, the international community and the Lebanese people - a peaceful, stable and prosperous society,” he told the gathering of dignitaries that included LAF representatives, local and religious leaders and fellow UNIFIL peacekeepers.
“Since my first deployment here in 2008, I can clearly see the results of this cooperation and increased stability,” he continued, referencing his first stint with UNIFIL, a decade ago, as Italian Battalion Commander.
He also reaffirmed UNIFIL’s strong commitment to assist the parties to maintain a peaceful environment in south Lebanon, while stressing three keywords: “peace, partnership and understanding.”
On the occasion, Major General Del Col and Brigadier General Robert Al-Alam, representing the LAF Commander, laid wreaths at the UNIFIL cenotaph paying tribute to 314 UN peacekeepers who lost their lives in the line of service since UNIFIL’s establishment in 1978.
Also marking the Day and the 40th anniversary of UNIFIL’s establishment this year, Major General Del Col this evening is set to open a photo exhibition at Beit Beirut, an old war scarred house in the capital that now serves as a museum and a reminder of the human cost of conflict.
The exhibition of photographs and children’s drawings depict the resilience of the Lebanese people and the deployment and work carried out by the UNIFIL peacekeepers alongside the communities since 1978. It will be open to the public from Tuesday, 25 September and run through Friday, 28 September.
The International Day of Peace was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 to promote peace among nations and people. The global theme of this year’s observance is “The Right to Peace.”
Speech of UNIFIL Head of Mission Major General Stefano Del Col