8 Nov 2017
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), the importance of cooperation from both sides in the implementation of resolutions 1701 and 2373, air and ground violations, the situation along the Blue Line, as well as the issue of withdrawal of Israeli forces from northern Ghajar.
The UNIFIL head hailed, in particular, the “welcomed development” of the deployment in September of additional LAF troops to the UNIFIL area of operation (AO) between the Litani River and the Blue Line. He added that the new LAF deployment in addition to the existing Brigades is allowing UNIFIL and LAF to increase coordinated activities and contributes to enhanced LAF presence in the UNIFIL AO.
“It is an important step in the right direction,” he said. “The key to the long term stability and security of the South is an enhanced LAF presence. We look forward to this effort continuing, through the deployment of more troops.”
He noted that calm has generally prevailed and a normalization of activities has been observed in certain areas in the period since the last tripartite meeting of 19 September.
He highlighted the importance of building on the existing calm and relatively stable situation and providing impetus to the attainment of the broader strategic goals and working together towards a permanent ceasefire.
“While we all fully understand that those larger political issues are outside the remit of this forum, we have to acknowledge that we must not lose sight of this longer term goal while we continue to address the immediate operational concerns in the context of the cessation of hostilities,” Major General Beary said, stressing the importance of both parties using UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination mechanism.
The Major General praised the liaison arrangements noting that it has allowed for normal activities such as the olive harvesting to take place without friction.
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.
UNIFIL currently has around 10,500 peacekeepers who maintain some 13,500 operational activities per month, by day and night, in the area of operations. UNIFIL is complemented by a seven-vessel Maritime Task Force.