The Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Major-General Luciano Portolano, today chaired a regular tripartite meeting with senior officers from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defense Forces at the UN Position at Ras Al Naqoura crossing today, according to a UNFIL statement.
The meeting was called for due to the events of the 28th of January, in which Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli military vehicles in the Har Dov region near the Lebanon border, killing two and injuring seven IDF soldiers, and in the return fire from the IDF, a UNFIL peacekeeper was killed.
The meeting centered on ensuring a return to calm and stability in UNIFIL’s area of operations. In addition to the recent incidents, the participants discussed the implementation of relevant provisions of UN Security Council resolution 1701 under UNIFIL’s mandate, including air and ground violations, the ongoing visible marking of the Blue Line and the issue of withdrawal of Israeli forces from northern Ghajar.
UNFIL Major-General Portolano said: “I conveyed the UN Secretary-General message of concern over the serious deterioration of the security situation, to refrain from any action that could undermine the stability of the area and to act responsibly to prevent any escalation in an already tense regional environment. The Secretary-General urged respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region, and adherence to all relevant Security Council resolutions. "
“I was re-assured by both sides of their commitment to using liaison and coordination channels, including the tripartite mechanism to preserve stability and prevent any further escalation of the situation in UNIFIL’s area of operations.”
The Force Commander emphasized that the situation in UNIFIL’s AO is now stable and under control.