UNIFIL HoM/FC meets with Lebanese Prime Minister
In the wake of the serious incident along the Blue Line on 1 September that occurred amidst mounting tension following developments outside the UNIFIL area of operations, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Stefano Del Col today called on Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut.
Following the meeting, Major-General Del Col said:
“I had very useful discussions with the Prime Minister today. I shared my serious concern at the incident of 1 September in UNIFIL area of operations when anti-tank missiles claimed by Hizbullah were fired from southern Lebanon across the Blue Line. This was a serious breach of the cessation of hostilities and a gross violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701.”
“The missile attack triggered retaliatory shelling by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and could have led to unwanted escalation of the situation that UNIFIL and the parties might not have been able to control, hence endangering the safety of the local population.”
“My priority was to quickly de-escalate the situation and restore calm in the area, which was achieved through intensive engagement with the parties during the course of the developments. Once again UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination mechanism played a critical role in deconflicting the situation along the Blue Line. At this time, we remain closely engaged with the parties to contain tensions and incidents and enable a safe and secure environment in the area.”
“The security infrastructure that UNIFIL has established along the Blue Line in collaboration with the parties and through our coordinated operations with the Lebanese Armed Forces has delivered 13 years of calm and stability in the area. The effectiveness of this mechanism is, however, contingent on the parties and I am very encouraged by the Prime Minister’s strong reaffirmation today of Lebanon’s continued commitment to the cessation of hostilities under resolution 1701. It is of paramount importance that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River is free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL”
“We also agreed on the importance of strengthening the capabilities of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in the UNIFIL area of operations in order to enable it to take greater security responsibilities along the Blue Line. I assured the Prime Minister of UNIFIL’s continued efforts to this end.”