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Opening photo exhibition in Beirut, UNIFIL head notes “unique momentum” to build on existing stability in south Lebanon

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Lebanon
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UNIFIL
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Opening the exhibition of more than 60 photographs, including some historic maps, Major General Del Col said these photographs tell the story of the long journey UNIFIL and Lebanese populations have made together in the last 44 years.

"The images capture the painful past experienced by the people of south Lebanon. They also tell their story of strength and the pursuit of a more promising future," he said, before an audience of Government officials, diplomats and representatives of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), among others.

Recalling the words of Secretary-General António Guterres that UNIFIL is the "symbol of stability in an unstable region," Major General Del Col said, "We operate in such a delicate context that even a minor miscalculation or misunderstanding can have profound and grave consequences."

He also paid tributes to those UNIFIL peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving far away from their families and loved ones. "Their sacrifices for the security and stability of south Lebanon will not be forgotten," he added.

The venue of the exhibition, the Beit Beirut cultural centre, is itself an architectural testament to overcoming conflict. Constructed from rubble from Lebanon's civil war, now contrasted with modern steel and glass, this arts centre shows the scars of conflict as well as a light-filled vision for the present.

"The images of destruction and chaos can be confined to history books and to the war-wounded-walls of this house," the UNIFIL head said. "It should remind the next generations of the cost of conflict and serve as further inspiration for us all to work together for the benefit of peace."

In his remarks, the Governor of Beirut, Judge Marwan Abboud, applauded UNIFIL's role, together with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), in maintaining calm along the Blue Line and in south Lebanon.

"This place is called the House of Beirut; we wanted to keep it as it is to remind people about the difficulties of war and the importance of peace," he said. "Lebanon suffered a lot because wars have ripped her apart since 1975... you (UNIFIL) have played an important role in maintaining peace and supporting locals in the south... the State and the people of Lebanon are thankful for your efforts and contributions."

At the ceremony, the LAF Commander General Joseph Aoun was represented by Brigadier General Ali Kanso.

The images on display capture UNIFIL's work in south Lebanon and along the Blue Line since 1978, in the areas of core peacekeeping, demining, community support, COVID-19 prevention, assistance in the rehabilitation of the Beirut Port after the 2020 explosions and surrounding areas.

Exhibition opening times:

The exhibition will keep its doors open to the public from Tuesday, 22 February till Thursday, 24 February from 15:00 hours to 19:00 hours.