UNIFIL head chairs tripartite meeting with LAF and IDF officials
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary today chaired the seventh and last scheduled tripartite meeting of 2017 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 the importance of continued cooperation in the implementation of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and the operational paragraphs of Security Council resolution 2373 (2017), as well as air and ground violations, the situation along the Blue Line, and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from northern Ghajar.
Noting the relative calm and stability along the Blue Line and UNIFIL’s area of operation (AO) over the past 11-years, Major General Beary said the “unprecedented period of calm” has benefited significantly the communities living along the Blue Line.
“This is very much visible to UNIFIL in the AO, where the population is developing and investing in economic and social activities,” he said. “It truly testifies to the sincere desire among the broader public to exist peacefully and with confidence in a stable and secure future.”
The Force Commander urged both parties to continue to use UNIFIL’s liaison and tripartite systems to safeguard the overall calm along the Blue Line and the achievements of the last decade.
He added that since the last tripartite meeting, held on 8 November 2017, there were relatively few ground violations and incidents along the Blue Line. He also noted that there had been no freedom of Movement issue for UNIFIL during the four-week period.
“I ask the parties to continue your proactive work and sensitization efforts to reduce inadvertent violations of resolution 1701 and I hope we can reach a stage where we have no noteworthy incidents to report,” said Major General Beary.
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.
“As we enter a new year, this will remain a pillar for cooperation between UNIFIL and the parties in facing all existing and new challenges,” he said. “I also want each of you to seriously consider building genuine confidence and trust between each other this coming year and focusing on moving towards long-term stability through achieving a permanent ceasefire.”
UNIFIL currently has around 10,500 peacekeepers who carry out some 13,500 operational activities per month, by day and night, in the area of operations. The mission also has about 900 civilian staff. UNIFIL is complemented by a seven-vessel Maritime Task Force.