UNIFIL observes International Day of Peace, 21 September 2011
(UNIFIL ceremony and festival of Lebanese homemade traditional food and handicrafts)
Naqoura, Lebanon - The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today held a ceremony at its headquarters in Naqoura to mark the 30th International Day of Peace. Present at the ceremony were local authorities, religious leaders, representatives of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the international community.
Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas reviewed an Honour Guard from peacekeepers representing the 36 different national contingents that make up UNIFIL. He, together with LAF South Litani Commander Brigadier General Sadek Tlais representing the LAF Commander, laid wreaths at the UNIFIL cenotaph in memory of peacekeepers who lost their lives in the service of peace.
Addressing the ceremony, the Force Commander explained the significance of the day for "strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people".
"For us in UNIFIL and for the Lebanese people, this day takes on a particular meaning as UNIFIL symbolizes over 33 years of joint efforts towards lasting peace and prosperity in southern Lebanon," Major-General Asarta said.
"I am encouraged by the assurances from the parties that they will continue working closely with UNIFIL to maintain calm in the area," he added, reiterating calls on both the parties to go even further and make every effort to achieve a permanent ceasefire as called for in UN Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).
On this occasion today, UNIFIL in cooperation with the UN Development Program (UNDP) organized a festival of Lebanese homemade traditional food and handicrafts.
The festival is part of efforts to assist local agricultural cooperatives and associations promote their products as well as introduce Lebanese culture to UNIFIL members.
The International Day of Peace was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 as a day dedicated to ceasefire and non-violence; a day where tolerance, justice and human rights are promoted.
UNIFIL currently has more than 12,000 troops and about 1,000 civilian staff members serving in the Mission.