Use liaison and coordination mechanisms to advance mutual interests, UNIFIL’s top official urges parties at tripartite meeting
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col chaired a special Tripartite meeting with senior officers of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at a UN position in Ras Al Naqoura today.
Major General Del Col tackled the serious breaches in the cessation of hostilities on 4, 5, and 6 August. “I immediately utilised our liaison and coordination mechanism to engage both sides seeking de-escalation,” he said. “This unprecedented level of escalation has serious implications for the cessation of hostilities. It is important therefore that this remains an isolated event and does not represent a new trend along the Blue Line.”
With the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate and the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2591 on 30 August, Major General Del Col noted “the Security Council’s support for the tripartite mechanism and its role in facilitating coordination, de-escalating tensions, stabilising the situation along the Blue Line, and building confidence.”
During the meeting, discussions also focused on the situation along the Blue Line, air and ground violations, and other issues within the scope of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) and subsequent resolutions.
The UNIFIL chief emphasized the need to move forward on outstanding Blue Line issues, as clearly expressed in UN Security Council Resolution 2591: “The Security Council has welcomed your progress in Blue Line marking and a continuation of that process, aimed at addressing and completing all the outstanding points, would deliver a clear message towards addressing mandate imperatives.”
On a practical note, Major General Del Col urged the parties to find solutions to seasonal issues along the Blue Line, which could be solved through local arrangements with the assistance of UNIFIL’ s Liaison and Coordination mechanism.
Since the end of the 2006 war in south Lebanon, regular Tripartite meetings have been held under UNIFIL’s auspices as an essential conflict-management and confidence-building mechanism. Through its liaison and coordination mechanisms, UNIFIL remains the only forum through which Lebanese and Israeli armies officially meet.