United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping begins tour of region
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Hervé Ladsous, began a five-day visit to the region. He was met in Beirut by the UNIFIL Force Commander, Major-General Paolo Serra, and senior staff of the peacekeeping mission.
In Beirut this morning, Mr. Ladsous held separate meetings with senior UN officials in Lebanon and the region.
The Under-Secretary-General paid a visit to the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force (MTF) in Beirut port. On board the MTF flagship 'Constituicao' from Brazil, he was briefed by the MTF Commander, Rear Admiral Joese Leandro, on the activities of the MTF and its cooperation with the LAF-Navy.
Mr.Ladsous praised the LAF-Navy and the MTF for demonstrating professionalism and commitment towards their security responsibilities under UN Security Council resolution 1701 (2006). "The continued efforts of the Task Force and strategic cooperation with the LAF-Navy are critical," he said. "The LAF-Navy and the MTF must seize this momentum and build on the achievements made to date. To this end, the training being provided by UNIFIL MTF to the LAF Navy is an important capacity building initiative."
UNIFIL MTF is the first naval task force ever to take part in a UN peacekeeping mission. It was first deployed in 2006, at the request of the Lebanese Government, with a dual mandate of assisting the LAF-Navy in preventing the unauthorized entry of arms and related material by sea into Lebanon, and training the LAF-Navy.
USG Ladsous later visited the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naquora, southern Lebanon, where he was briefed by Major-General Serra and civilian and military personnel on the operational aspects of the mission and the situation in the area of operations, as well as cooperation with the LAF.
He inspected a UNIFIL guard of honour and laid a wreath at the cenotaph in memory of fallen peacekeepers.
Mr. Ladsous said: "I was briefed by Gen. Serra about the situation in UNIFIL's area of operations and the Mission's efforts in coordination with the parties to maintain the cessation of hostilities. I commend his leadership in the way UNIFIL's resources are being employed to further the cause of peace in southern Lebanon."
He added: "It is clear to me that the strategic partnership between UNIFIL and the LAF is vital for the successful implementation of UNIFIL's mandate. It is imperative that the international community provides the necessary technical and material resources to the LAF so that it can effectively deliver on its important tasks under resolution 1701and the United Nations will continue to support the Lebanese leadership in their efforts to this end."
In the next days, the Under-Secretary-General will be visiting other UN peacekeeping missions in the region and will hold bilateral meetings with Lebanese leaders. In UNIFIL, he will undertake a tour of the Line of Withdrawal (Blue Line) and will visit several sensitive locations on the ground along the Blue Line in southern Lebanon.