Statement by UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander following today’s meetings with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri
“I had very productive meetings with Their Excellencies President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri in Beirut today.
I briefed the President and the Speaker on developments in connection with tunnels along the Blue Line. This is a serious matter and UNIFIL is working in close coordination with the parties both at the technical level as well as at the leadership level to ensure that all related facts are objectively determined and diligently addressed in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
At the same time rumours and speculations should be avoided, and I have assured the President and the Speaker that UNIFIL will continue to share its findings with the appropriate authorities in Lebanon based on facts that are independently verified by UNIFIL.
I briefed the President and the Speaker on my recent visit to a location near Metulla where technical experts from UNIFIL carried out a site inspection to confirm the existence of a tunnel. Yesterday a UNIFIL technical team led by the Deputy Force Commander verified the existence of a second tunnel north of the previous one in the same general area. UNIFIL is continuing to follow up on this issue in close coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
So, this is work in progress, and UNIFIL will make every effort to maintain clear and credible channels of communication with both sides so that there is no room for misunderstanding on this sensitive matter.
Most importantly, the calm and stability along the Blue Line must be preserved. I am encouraged to hear from both parties that they have no intention to escalate the situation along the Blue Line and they are keen to continue working with UNIFIL to this end.