UNIFIL Force Commander visits Grand Mufti and Maronite Patriarch
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano today paid two separate courtesy calls to the Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic H.E. Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian in Beirut and to Maronite Patriarch for Antioch and the East Cardinal Bechara Boutros El-Rai, in his office in Bkirki.
Major-General Portolano discussed the situation in UNIFIL’s area of operations and the work carried out by the Mission in south Lebanon related to the implementation of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
UNIFIL Force Commander expressed his gratitude for the continued support the Mission has been receiving by all the religious authorities over the years in the south of Lebanon.
After the meeting Major-General Portolano said: “I was extremely impressed by their encouraging words in support for interfaith dialogue and peace.” And he added: ”There is a great bond between UNIFIL peacekeepers, the religious authorities and the people of the south. This has been built through the many conflicts and hardships they have faced together since 1978 when the peacekeepers stood by the people, protected them and provided them all possible assistance.”
“I came today to convey my heartfelt wishes for a joyful holiday season and durable peace for the years to come. Our Mission will continue to work in preserving peace and stability through UNIFIL’s continued operations on the ground in coordination with the LAF and with the support of the people of south Lebanon who have welcomed and hosted the peacekeepers. UNIFIL treasures and respects the strong religious and cultural values of the community we are assisting and the success of the Mission is inextricably intertwined with the support we are receiving from them.”