President Michel Sleiman visits UNIFIL

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18 Jan 2013

President Michel Sleiman visits UNIFIL

The Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, today paid a visit to the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) located in Naqoura, south Lebanon.

UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra welcomed the President to UNIFIL and expressed appreciation for the visit to the Mission "Your presence here today Mr. President, is a fervent expression of your sustained support and commitment to the work carried out by UNIFIL in the south of Lebanon and to our strategic partnership with the Lebanese Army."

During the meeting, issues related to the implementation of UNIFIL's mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701 were discussed, with particular focus on cooperation between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

Following the visit, the Force Commander said: "We had a very good meeting. I briefed the President about the close coordination between UNIFIL and the LAF, which is critical for the successful implementation of our mandate. This strategic partnership has brought substantial improvement in the security environment in the south and I intend to take it forward." He added: "I also stressed on the strong relationship between UNIFIL and the people of South Lebanon who have welcomed and hosted the peacekeepers since 1978. This close human bond is paramount for the success of the mission."

The Force Commander expressed satisfaction at the prevailing calm and stability in the UNIFIL area of operation in southern Lebanon. He added that the parties continue to express their strong commitment to the cessation of hostilities and their willingness to work in close coordination with UNIFIL for the implementation of UNSCR 1701.

Major-General Serra thanked the President for his continued support, emphasizing that UNIFIL remains focused on its mandated tasks under UN Security Council resolution 1701.

Earlier, on his arrival, President Sleiman inspected a UNIFIL Guard of Honour. The President was accompanied by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander General Jean Kahwaji.