Wednesday, July 22, 2009


New York, Jul 22 2009 3:10PM
The tensions that have recently flared up in southern Lebanon have begun to ease, a top United Nations official said today, adding that all sides have expressed their commitment to restore stability to the area.

"We see the situation as calming down," the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams, said following his meeting in Beirut with the country's Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh.

Mr. Williams has been meeting over the past couple of days with senior Lebanese officials regarding an explosion that took place at an arms cache last week, as well as the wounding of a number of peacekeepers serving with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon during an investigation into the blast.

One of UNIFIL's tasks is to ensure that there are no unauthorized armed personnel, assets or weapons between the Blue Line – which separates the Lebanese forces and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) – and the Litani River. It investigates any claims in that regard, in collaboration with Lebanese forces, if specific information is received.

In addition to Mr. Salloukh, Mr. Williams has also discussed the situation with Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and Hizbollah.

"All… have assured me strongly that active efforts are under way to reduce the tension and restore stability to the area," he stated.

Discussions also centred on the importance of the full implementation by all sides of Security Council resolution 1701, which helped end the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbollah. That text called for, among others, renewed respect for the Blue Line, the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling.

Mr. Williams added that the UN has urged both Lebanon and Israel to refrain from any actions "which could be perceived as provocative and which could spiral into undesirable results." 

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


New York, Jul 14 2009 5:10PM United Nations peacekeepers have carried out maritime exercises off the coast of Lebanon in a bid to boost cooperation and coordination with the country's navy.

Three German units serving with the Maritime Task Force of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon took part in yesterday's drill with three naval units from the Lebanese Navy.

According to UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Claudio Graziano, "the Lebanese Navy's participation in this exercise is of paramount importance in light of the future hand-over of the full responsibility of their territorial water."

UNIFIL's Maritime Task Force was deployed off the Lebanese coast in 2006 to curtail arms smuggling following that year's Israel-Hizbollah war, and has since hailed over 24,000 ships and referred nearly 300 suspicious vessels to Lebanese authorities for further inspection.

Currently, the Force comprises naval units from Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy and Turkey.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Secretary-General appoints David Tolbert of the United States of America as the Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon has appointed Mr. David Tolbert of the United States of America as the Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.  He will commence his duties on 26 August 2009.

Mr. Tolbert is the second Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, succeeding Mr. Robin Vincent. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Vincent's assistance to the United Nations in the establishment and commencement of functioning of the Special Tribunal.

Mr. Tolbert will bring with him a wealth of experience in the work of international criminal tribunals. At the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), he served in senior capacities in all three organs of the institution, in the Office of the Prosecutor as Deputy Chief Prosecutor from 2004 to 2008, in the Registry, among other positions, as the Deputy Registrar from 2003 to 2004, and in Chambers as the Chef de Cabinet to the President from 1998 to 1999. Mr. Tolbert also served as the Special Expert to the Secretary-General on the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT).

Born in 1956, Mr. Tolbert holds a Master of Laws (LL.M.), in International Law from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom; a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of North Carolina, USA; and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), from Furman University, South Carolina, USA. Mr. Tolbert has published extensively in the field of international criminal law. He is married.

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