Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Lebanon - Firing of rockets against Israel

New York, 29 November 2011 - The Secretary-General condemns the firing of at least two rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon on the night of 29 November. The Israel Defense Forces returned fire with artillery rounds toward the location where the rockets were launched. There were no reports of casualties on either side and the situation is now calm. UNIFIL is investigating the circumstances of the incident in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces. The Secretary-General urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint and reminds them of their obligation to fully adhere to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and respect the cessation of hostilities agreement.

UN mission urges restraint after rocket fire from Lebanon into Israel

29 November 2011,
The United Nations has called for maximum restraint by all parties after last night's rocket firing from southern Lebanon into Israel.
No casualties have been reported from either side following the firing of at least one rocket shortly after midnight from the general area of Rumaysh, according to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Israeli authorities indicated to UNIFIL that a number of rockets impacted in northern Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) returned artillery fire directed at the location from where the rocket fire originated.

"This is a serious incident in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701 and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area," UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas said in a press statement.

Resolution 1701 ended the month-long war between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbollah in 2006. It also calls for respect for the so-called Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area.

"It is imperative to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this attack and we will spare no efforts to this end working in cooperation with the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces]. Additional troops have been deployed on the ground and patrols have been intensified across our area of operations to prevent any further incidents."

UNIFIL, in cooperation with the parties, is currently investigating to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident as well as to locate the launching site of the rocket fire.

"At the same time, there is a need to act with restraint and the parties have reassured me of their continued commitment to maintain the cessation of hostilities in accordance with resolution 1701," said the Force Commander.

UNIFIL added that there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The Security Council is scheduled to discuss implementation of resolution 1701 in a closed-door meeting in New York later today.

Monday, November 14, 2011


New York, Nov 14 2011 6:10PM
Lebanon must regain control of its borders to ensure stability, a senior United Nations official said today, expressing his concern over recent incursions of the Syrian military into the Middle East country.

The acting UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Robert Watkins said these incursions imply a lack of Government control over its borders with Syria, and underscored the importance of demarcating those boundaries to ensure security and stability.

Mr. Watkins' remarks were made after his meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut. During the meeting, Mr. Watkins spoke to Mr. Mikati about the latest report on Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanon-based group Hizbollah.

Mr. Watkins noted there has been a rather stable period in the south of the country.

"We were very pleased with the overall stability that has taken place in the south in the last period," he said, adding progress had also been made in the marking of the Blue Line, the border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel.

However, he remarked that in spite of these advancements, "there has been no progress made towards a permanent ceasefire."

Mr. Watkins also expressed his concern about the establishment of national dialogue in Lebanon, and said developments in this area are crucial so that "Lebanon can start moving towards the development of a more coherent national defense strategy."