UNIFIL peacekeepers complete ‘temporary and special’ Beirut mission

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23 Oct 2020

UNIFIL peacekeepers complete ‘temporary and special’ Beirut mission

After more than three weeks of engineering work in Beirut in support of and coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), to deal with the aftermath of the tragic 4 August explosions, a UNIFIL detachment of multinational force returned today to the Mission’s area of operations in south Lebanon. 

Nearly 150 peacekeepers from 13 of UNIFIL’s 45 contingents facilitated the resumption of operations at the Beirut Port by clearing 11,500 tons of debris and carried out construction works. In the process, they also dismantled four of the damaged warehouses. 

In addition, UNIFIL peacekeepers also assisted in the restoration of damaged heritage sites from further devastation by clearing 500 tons of rubble and separating and storing about 150 tons of stones, facades and wood ornaments for future use. This activity was carried out in coordination with the LAF, the Lebanese Directorate of Antiquities and the Blue Shield International. 

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Stefano Del Col, paid special tributes to the hundreds of thousands of people directly affected by the explosions. He also expressed appreciation for the peacekeepers involved during the Beirut mission, authorized by UN Security Council resolution 2539 as “temporary and special measures” to provide support to Lebanon and its people in the aftermath of the explosions. 

“At the outset, I pay my tribute to all those people who suffered, were injured and to those who died on the tragic 4 August 2020 explosions,” he said before laying a wreath at the monument in memory of the Beirut blast victims. 

“You enabled the resumption of operations in the Beirut Harbour, cleared the main road in the Mar Mikhael neighbourhood, that had been blocked for over two months, and supported the works at historical sites,” said the UNIFIL head. We are honoured to have been part of this common efforts to ease some of the pain that the city has been gone through.” 

Maj. Gen. Del Col emphasized that UNIFIL’s main focus continues to be ensuring stability in south Lebanon and along the Blue Line. 

“We are working to create the conditions for political and diplomatic efforts to take root, to achieve a long-term solution and a permanent ceasefire, for which the commitment of the parties is an essential element,” he added.