NNA - Major General Aroldo Lázaro, Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), chaired a regular Tripartite meeting at a UN position in Ras al-Naqoura today.
In the context of recent events along the Blue Line, Major General Lázaro urged the parties to continue to coordinate activities near the line with UNIFIL in advance, and avoid actions that could escalate the situation and increase tension.
“Activities such as weapons pointing, firing of live ammunition, laser pointing, and stone throwing have all continued despite my repeated requests for action,” he noted. “Each occasion has the potential for serious escalation. Both parties have the responsibility to take preventive action to avoid a breach in the cessation of hostilities.”
He encouraged the parties to make use of UNIFIL’s resources when necessary, to help avoid tensions like those seen recently.
“Lack of clarity of the Blue Line between markers contributed to tension,” the UNIFIL head noted. “The Blue Line marking project, which started in 2007, provides a guide in approximating the Blue Line trajectory. Clarity on the precise trajectory of the Blue Line is determined through the deployment of UNIFIL assets.”
During the meeting, discussions also focused on the recent UN Secretary-General’s report, air and ground violations, and other issues within the scope of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) and subsequent resolutions.
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. Today’s was the 159th such meeting. Through its liaison and coordination mechanisms, UNIFIL remains the only forum through which Lebanese and Israeli armies officially meet.