UNIFIL head chairs regular tripartite meeting with LAF and IDF officials
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Michael Beary, today chaired a regular tripartite meeting with senior officials from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the UN position at Ras Al Naqoura.
Discussions centered on issues related to the implementation of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), air and ground violations, the situation along the Blue Line and its ongoing visible marking, as well as the issue of withdrawal of Israeli forces from northern Ghajar.
During the meeting, concerns were raised on the presence of unauthorized weapons in the UNIFIL area of operations on 20 April 2017, as well as IDF works in the general area of the Shab’a Farms.
UNIFIL Head of Mission noted UNIFIL’s ongoing discussions with the LAF on further steps to ensure that the area is free from any unauthorized armed personnel, assets or weapons in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1701.
In this context, Major General Beary praised the commitment shown by the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri who, along with the Minister of Defence Yacoub Sarraf, LAF Commander Gen Joseph Aoun and a senior LAF delegation, paid a visit to the Blue Line on 21 April 2017 and reaffirmed Lebanon’s commitment to resolution 1701.
The UNIFIL head reiterated his call to the parties to exercise calming influence on their respective sides and make the most of UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination arrangements in order to de-escalate tensions and boost confidence-building, including by avoiding any unilateral action along sensitive parts of the Blue Line.
“I received encouraging support for UNIFIL and for the work we are doing here together with both the parties to keep the calm along the Blue Line in a very challenging regional context,” said Major General Beary.
He also hailed the recent progress on the Blue Line marking process with the LAF.
“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep momentum on marking and to use the assets that we have at our disposal to support the process,” he said. “Not only does it reduce violations and unnecessary frictions, but it also provides us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to find solutions to the long overdue issues that are solvable.”
Tripartite meetings have been held regularly under the auspices of UNIFIL since the end of the 2006 war. They have become an essential conflict management and confidence building mechanism between the parties.