UNIFIL Head of Mission General Portolano meets with Lebanese Minister of Defence
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano today called on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Samir Moqbel in Beirut.
Following the tragic attack perpetrated in Beirut last week where 43 were killed and more than 200 people injured, General Portolano expressed his condolences to the Minister: "I wanted to convey my deepest sympathies and those of all UNIFIL peacekeepers to the victims, their families, and the people of Lebanon.
Our thoughts go to the grieving families who have lost loved ones in this heinous act and we hope for the speedy recovery of the wounded. We in UNIFIL, stand by our Lebanese hosts in our common quest for peace and security.
I want to praise the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the General Security for their relentless effort in fighting terrorism and in their endeavor in uncovering terrorism rings with a view to ensure security and stability in Lebanon."
After the meeting UNIFIL Head of Mission said: "With the Minister we discussed issues related to the latest report of the UN Secretary-General (SG) on the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and the SG's strong support for the Government of Lebanon, the country's unity, sovereignty, stability and independence. I also emphasized the paramount role played by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in maintaining security in the south in coordination with UNIFIL."
"In this contest, I strongly emphasized that UNIFIL's full freedom of movement and the security of its personnel are integral to the effective executions of its tasks under the UNSC resolution 1701. I recalled the Lebanese authorities' responsibility to ensure that UNIFIL moves safely and unhindered throughout UNIFIL's area of operations."
"UNIFIL continues in its effort to facilitate international assistance to the LAF in the south in close coordination with the International Support Group for Lebanon. Bolster the LAF's capabilities is of utmost importance to tackle the multiple political, security, and socio-economic challenges that face them. It is essential to offer additional assistance where the LAF and the security forces are most critically in need, recognizing in particular the increased terrorist threat to Lebanese civilians."
Earlier this morning, Major-General Portolano also held separate meetings with LAF Commander General Jean Kahwaji, Director of LAF Intelligence Brigadier-General Edmond Fadel and Lebanese Government Coordinator to UNIFIL Brigadier-General Mohammed Janbay. Discussions focused on the situation in UNIFIL's AO and issues related to the implementation of UNIFIL's mandate under UN Security council resolution 1701.