USG Ladsous visits UNIFIL, meets Lebanese leaders in Beirut
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous today called on Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Tammam Salam in Beirut. He also met the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander General Jean Kahwaji and other senior LAF officers.
During the meetings, issues related to the implementation of resolution 1701 were discussed, with particular focus on the situation in UNIFIL’s area of operations and the cooperation between UNIFIL and the LAF in southern Lebanon.
Following the meetings, Mr. Ladsous said: “I was very encouraged by my discussions with the leaders today. They strongly reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of resolution 1701 and were highly appreciative of UNIFIL’s role in keeping the calm along the Blue Line in these turbulent times.”
“The prevailing calm in southern Lebanon has a stabilising effect beyond the immediate area and I assured the leaders that we, UNIFIL and the UN Headquarters, will spare no efforts in keeping it this way. Lebanon has stood up commendably to the immense challenges posed by the regional developments, and we must stand together with Lebanon in supporting this endeavour.”
“I expressed my deep appreciation for the commitment that the Lebanese Armed Forces has continued to show in working with UNIFIL on the tasks mandated by resolution 1701, not allowing the competing demands on its resources to distract it from this critical imperative. It is this spirit of dedication to the call of duty that has rendered the Lebanese Armed Forces today a beacon of Lebanon’s strength, and earned it the utmost respect not only of all the people of Lebanon but also of the international community. At the same time, we are well aware of the resource constraints the army faces and we are making every effort at every level to garner international assistance necessary to bolster its capacity.”
USG Ladsous later visited the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura, southern Lebanon, where he was briefed by the Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra and the Mission Staff on the operational aspects of UNIFIL. He also held a townhall meeting with UNIFIL personnel and mingled with peacekeepers, both civilian and military, in informal interactions.