UNIFIL Head of Mission meets with Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister and 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 meeting General Portolano said: "I had a very positive discussion with Minister Moqbel. I thanked the Minister for his strong support for UNIFIL and expressed my appreciation for the crucial role played by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in ensuring stability during this critical time for the country.
I recalled the strong support recently expressed by the UN Security Council for the Government of Lebanon and the country's unity, sovereignty, stability and independence. In extending UNIFIL's mandate until 31 August 2016, the Council acknowledged the pivotal role played by the LAF, welcoming also the constructive work of the tripartite mechanism in facilitating coordination and in de-escalating tension.
Despite the volatile security situation in the region, calm has largely prevailed along the Blue Line. I commended the LAF for maintaining security in the south in coordination with UNIFIL despite the multiple challenges the Army faces today in other parts of the country.
I briefed the Minister on my continued efforts with the parties to further strengthen the security arrangements along the Blue Line through some practical measures aimed at mitigating the potential for tensions or incidents. I told the Minister that the parties are constructively engaging with UNIFIL in this regard.
Our partnership with LAF has grown stronger and effective in preventing incidents and finding solutions to problems. Those results would not be possible without the strong support of the Lebanese authorities."
Earlier this morning, Major-General Portolano also held separate meetings with LAF Commander General Jean Kahwaji and Director of General Security Major-General Abbas Ibrahim. 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.