UNIFIL HoM meets Minister of Defence Samir Moqbel and LAF Commander Jean Kahwaji
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano today called on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Samir Moqbel and LAF Commander Jean Kahwaji in separate meetings in Beirut.
Major-General Portolano briefed Minister Moqbel and General Kahwaji on UNIFIL’s view of the situation in southern Lebanon and expressed his sincere appreciation for the crucial role played by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in ensuring stability in south Lebanon.
Following the meeting General Portolano said: “Today, I had very productive meetings with the Minister of Defence and the LAF Commander. We reviewed this past period when we had two incidents, on 20 December and 4 January, that were serious violations of resolution 1701 and breached the cessation of hostilities. We discussed the manner in which escalation was avoided through the use of UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination channels."
" I also thanked both for the excellent collaboration we have with the LAF which helped ensure that 2015 was mostly characterized by calm and stability in southern Lebanon. Both leaders assured me of their efforts to make sure that this will continue. ”
"The quiet situation in the UNIFIL's area of operations is also due to several factors, the most important of which is the effective cooperation between the Mission and the Lebanese Army" Portolano explained.
"Thanks to the support we receive from the Lebanese Army, we continue to maintain calm and stability in the south of Lebanon, and preserve close relations with the population, the local authorities and the religious leaders" he concluded.
Major-General Portolano also conveyed UNIFIL’s determination to continue to assist the LAF, in particular in southern Lebanon, to build capacity through the Strategic Dialogue.
Earlier this morning, Major-General Portolano also met with 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.