UNIFIL Head of Mission meets Lebanese Speaker and Prime Minister
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano today called on the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Tammam Salam in two separate meetings in Beirut.
Following the meetings Major-General Portolano said: “I had very productive discussions with both Speaker Berri and Prime Minister Salam. I briefed them on the situation in UNIFIL’s area of operations and our efforts together with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to maintain calm and stability along the Blue Line.
I complimented the leaders for their continued efforts to address the multiple challenges Lebanon faces today.
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.
Along the Blue Line calm has largely prevailed and it is of paramount importance to start capitalizing on what we have been able to build until now in close cooperation with the LAF and to seek agreements on practical arrangements with a view to reducing violations as a further confidence building measure. There have been some good examples of coordination in recent days such as the works carried out in the Wazzani River and other sensitive areas along the Blue Line. This is the momentum we should build on.
I reiterated our continued support in strengthening LAF’s capacities as a strategic objective of UNIFIL and emphasized the importance of the high level meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon scheduled to take place on 30 September in the margins of the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly.
Both Speaker Berri and Prime Minister Salam have been forthcoming in their support for UNIFIL over these years. I thanked them for their personal attention to our concerns and their appreciation of UNIFIL’s role in furthering our common goal for security and stability in southern Lebanon.”