During visit, UN peacekeeping chief reaffirms commitment to support Lebanon

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous signs the honour book at UNIFIL HQ in the presence of Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra. Photo: UNIFIL/Pasqual G. Marcos

14 May 2013 – During his meeting today in Lebanon with senior Government officials, the head United Nations peacekeeping operations reaffirmed the Organization’s commitment to work with the authorities to safeguard the country against negative regional developments.

“We in the United Nations place the utmost importance on security and stability in Lebanon, particularly during these extremely turbulent times,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, following his meetings with President Michel Sleiman, the Commander General of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Jean Kahwaji and other senior officials.

“I assured my interlocutors of our complete support and engagement at every level, whether in UNIFIL or at the UN Headquarters, to bolster the efforts of the Lebanese leadership to safeguard Lebanon from the negative impact of regional developments.”

According to a news release, discussions in the meetings were focused on the situation in the area of operations of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and the cooperation between UNIFIL and the LAF in southern Lebanon.

“I was very encouraged by the reaffirmation by all the leaders of their commitment to the full implementation of resolution 1701 and their strong words of support for UNIFIL,” Mr. Ladsous said, referring to the Security Council measure which ended the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah.

“The calm along the Blue Line is testimony to the strong strategic partnership between UNIFIL and the LAF, which continues to deliver under testing circumstances,” Mr. Ladsous said. “I had the opportunity to see on the ground how the two forces are working together and I was very impressed by their resolve and unflinching commitment to resolution 1701.”

Mr. Ladsous also underlined the need for both parties to continue working with UNIFIL to address issues of concern and prevent any escalation along the Blue Line.

Established in 1978, UNIFIL is tasked with ensuring that the area between the so-called Blue Line – separating Israel and Lebanon – and the Litani River is free of unauthorized weapons, personnel and assets. It also cooperates with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) so they can fulfil their security responsibilities.

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