AL NAQOURA, 8 SEPT – Head of Un mission in Lebanon UNIFIL, Stefano Del Col, chaired a special Tripartite meeting with senior officers from the Lebanese armed forces and the Israel Defense Forces at a UN position in Ras Al Naqoura.
During the meeting, the third since the COVID-19 outbreak and held under a curtailed format and agenda due to the ongoing restrictions, discussions focused on the situation along the Blue Line, air and ground violations as well as other issues within the scope of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701.
Major General Del Col expressed strong concerns at the two recent incidents of breach in the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel on 27 July and 25 August, and the generally raised tensions along the Blue Line. He updated the parties on the status of UNIFIL’s ongoing investigations into the incidents, and called for urgent steps to prevent their recurrence.
”Your actions along the Blue Line should be prioritized towards reducing tension and de-escalation by availing of our tried and tested liaison and coordination arrangements and avoiding unilateral actions,” he said. Looking forward, the UNIFIL Head of Mission briefed the delegations on the adoption last week of resolution 2539 by the UN Security Council, renewing UNIFIL’s mandate for one more year.
He said: ”The Security Council, in renewing UNIFIL’s mandate, has made its expectations clear – from UNIFIL, but more importantly from both the parties. It is important now that we work together with renewed energy towards the mandated objectives and, to this end, I look forward to your proactive engagement with UNIFIL going forward.”
Major General Del Col complimented the parties for the Security Council’s acknowledgement of the ‘constructive’ role played by the Tripartite forum in facilitating coordination and in de-escalating tensions. ”This forum – HE SAID – has proven itself by delivering practical localized arrangements on contentious issues. Let us actively build on this to explore further avenues for bringing greater stability along the Blue Line”.
Tripartite meetings have been held regularly under the auspices of UNIFIL since the end of the 2006 war in south Lebanon as an essential conflict management and confidence building mechanism.