UNIFIL Head urges parties to de-escalate, reduce tensions, and move forward on the Blue Line
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lázaro chaired a regular Tripartite meeting at a UN position in Ras al-Naqoura today.
“Through 2023 we must prioritise maintaining the cessation of hostilities,” he said. “In all our actions we should seek to de-escalate and reduce tensions along the Blue Line.”
Noting that there has not been a serious escalation or breach in the cessation of hostilities since November, the UNIFIL head nonetheless noted increased tension along the Blue Line.
Discussions during the meeting also focused on the situation along the Blue Line, air and ground violations, and other issues within the scope of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) and subsequent resolutions.
“As before, UNIFIL stands ready to facilitate the Blue Line talks and we look forward to the parties’ consent to proceed,” Major-General Lázaro added.
During the meeting, Major-General Lázaro acknowledged the messages of condolence and outrage from authorities in both Lebanon and Israel following the 14 December attack in Al-Aqbieh that left one peacekeeper dead and three injured, one seriously.
“UNIFIL, the Lebanese, and Irish authorities have launched independent investigations to determine the facts,” he noted. “I appreciate the support of Lebanese authorities in the conduct of the UNIFIL investigation. The real test will be ensuring that the perpetrators of this criminal act are held accountable.”
Since the end of the 2006 war in south Lebanon, regular Tripartite meetings have been held under UNIFIL’s auspices as an essential conflict-management and confidence-building mechanism. Today’s was the 159th such meeting. Through its liaison and coordination mechanisms, UNIFIL remains the only forum through which Lebanese and Israeli armies officially meet.