Meeting on assistance for LAF
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly and UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra convened today at the UN House in Beirut a meeting of the diplomatic community drawing from the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and UNIFIL's troop contributing countries to discuss ways of enhancing and improving international assistance to the capabilities development plan of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). LAF Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi and senior LAF officers also attended.
Special Coordinator Plumbly thanked Gen. Kahwagi and representatives of member states for attending the meeting. In an opening statement, he encouraged further international support for the LAF plan.
SCL Plumbly noted the complex challenges facing the army at a time when it was suffering from limited resources but hailed the successful role it has played in safeguarding Lebanon's security and stability particularly during the recent period.
He noted that the plan had been launched at a meeting hosted by the LAF in May. The present meeting was an opportunity to brief a wider group of countries and to build on the international consensus behind Lebanon's security and stability and behind the support for the army, as reflected in the Presidential Statement issued by the Security Council on 10 July.
Maj.- Gen. Serra highlighted the effective cooperation between UNIFIL and the LAF both at the strategic and tactical levels.
He praised LAF's strong commitment to the implementation of resolution 1701 as evident from its continued coordinated operations with UNIFIL in south Lebanon despite the multiple security challenges LAF faces elsewhere in the country. Stressing on the close partnership with, and support to, the LAF as essential elements of UNIFIL's mandate, the Force Commander outlined the wide range of common training initiatives undertaken with the LAF both on land and at sea.
He said that the UNIFIL-LAF Strategic Dialogue Plan, an integral part of the LAF Capabilities Development Plan, is now already in the implementation phase and a coordination mechanism is being developed, in coordination with UNSCOL, between UNIFIL, the LAF, the Government of Lebanon and international donors to ensure a comprehensive approach and support to the strategic dialogue mechanism.
The UN officials and the representatives of participating member states agreed that the plan sends a strong message about LAF's commitment to institution building, professionalism and transparency. It was agreed UNSCOL and UNIFIL would follow up and assist the LAF in coordinating responses to the plan, including in the context of the strategic dialogue.