As part of his visit to Lebanon to show the United Nations' solidarity with the country and its people, UN Secretary-General António Guterres today visited UNIFIL Headquarters and met with peacekeepers.
Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col received the UN chief and briefed him on the mission's work in south Lebanon.
During the visit, Secretary-General Guterres noted that the parties' commitment to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 and maintaining the cessation of hostilities across the Blue Line is essential.
"It is very important that the parties understand that any conflict in this situation could be a tragedy with unpredictable consequences," the UN chief said. "The parties must have good faith and must commit themselves to maintain the stability in the Blue Line.
"At the same time, it would be important for the parties to negotiate some aspects in which there are still some doubts about the exact position of the Blue Line together with the negotiation about the maritime border, and it is essential that both sides abstain in relation to any violation of the agreements."
Major General Del Col took the Secretary-General to UN Position 1-32A, the site of the regular Tripartite meetings with senior Lebanese Armed Forces and Israel Defense Forces officials. He was briefed on UNIFIL's liaison and coordination mechanisms and the role they play in de-confliction and confidence-building.
The Secretary-General reiterated his call for continued international support to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which is essential for the stability of Lebanon.
Hailing UNIFIL's role in south Lebanon as "the symbol of stability in an unstable region," he commended peacekeepers for their work there.
"The role that UNIFIL has been playing is largely responsible for the fact that no major confrontation has taken place in the border between Israel and Lebanon," he added. "And that is to the credit of the work of the men and women that serve UN and serve peace in UNIFIL."
While in south Lebanon, Mr. Guterres held meetings with young peacekeepers, women, and civil society leaders. He also toured a section of the Blue Line and saw first-hand the work UNIFIL peacekeepers do, in coordination with the LAF, to maintain stability in the UN mission's area of operations and along the 120-km Line.
Accompanying the UN chief were Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Rosemary DiCarlo, and UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka.