Attack on peacekeepers will not deter UN's work in Lebanon, says commander

UNIFIL and Lebanese troops conduct joint live fire exercise

30 May 2011 – The attack that injured six United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon last week will not deter the world body from its work in the country, the commander of the force pledged today.

The roadside bomb that ripped through a convoy of vehicles belonging to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) near the city of Sidon injured six Italian peacekeepers and two Lebanese civilians.

“UNIFIL peacekeepers remain determined more than ever to pursue our mandated tasks with greater vigour,” Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas said today following separate meetings in Beirut with President Michel Sleiman, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander General Jean Kahwaji.

“We will not allow this incident to interrupt our operations on the ground which are continuing in full measure in cooperation with the LAF,” he added.

The Force Commander said he was heartened by the strong voices of support reiterated by the leaders during their meetings and a common resolve to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.

He reassured the officials that UNIFIL will stay the course and stressed the importance of completing the investigation into the attack with utmost urgency.

UNIFIL was originally created by the Security Council in March 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

It was reinforced after the 2006 fighting between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah, with the added mandate to monitor the cessation of hostilities accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.


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