Thursday, August 16, 2018

Danon welcomes new head of UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon

By JNS -August 10, 2018145 0

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon welcomed the new head of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

"Israel welcomes Major General Stefano Del Col, of Italy, on assuming the role as UNIFIL's Head of Mission," said Danon.

Stefano replaces Maj. Gen. Michael Beary of Ireland stepped down after four years as Head of Mission of UNIFIL on Tuesday.
"UNIFIL is an important force, with more than 10,000 soldiers," Danon continued. "Its more robust mandate is designed to push back against the blatant, unauthorized arms buildup of Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran, in southern Lebanon. With a new commander, there is a new opportunity to fulfill more of this important mission."

Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, UNIFIL's goal has been to restore peace and security to the Israeli-Lebanese border. Its mission includes monitoring land between the Blue Line and Litani River, keeping it clear of armed personnel, excluding Lebanon's government or UNIFIL forces.

Last September, the United States and Israel worked together to expand UNIFIL's role by authorizing patrols alongside Lebanese forces and mandating reports when peacekeepers run into Hezbollah checkpoints.



Friday, August 10, 2018

Security Council Press Statement on Attack against United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon

SC/13451-PKO/746
9 AUGUST 2018

Security Council Press Statement on Attack against United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Karen Pierce (United Kingdom):

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attack against the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on 4 August near the town of Majdal Zun, southern Lebanon.  Peacekeepers were threatened with illegal weapons, vehicles were set on fire and UNIFIL's own weapons and equipment were seized.  The members of the Security Council underlined the need for the conduct of a credible investigation to determine the exact circumstances of this attack.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for UNIFIL, condemned any attempt to prevent UNIFIL from carrying out its mandate in full accordance with Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), and recalled the necessity for all parties to ensure that UNIFIL personnel are secure and their freedom of movement is fully respected and unimpeded.

The members of the Security Council commended the role of UNIFIL in maintaining calm along the Blue Line and its cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) with the aim of extending the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory.

The members of the Security Council recalled the statements of the International Support Group on 8 December 2017 and of the Security Council on 19 December 2017 and 27 March 2018, commending the role of the LAF and of all State security institutions in protecting the country, its borders and its population, and recalling that the LAF are the only legitimate armed forces of Lebanon, as enshrined in the Lebanese Constitution and the Taif Agreement.

The members of the Security Council recalled relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1559 (2004), 1680 (2006), 1701 (2006) and 2373 (2017), including provisions that there be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than those of the Lebanese State, no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its Government, and no sale or supply of arms-related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its Government.  The members of the Security Council encouraged the Secretary-General to continue providing prompt and detailed reporting on restrictions to UNIFIL's freedom of movement.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their commitment to the stability, security, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions.


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

MAJDEL ZUN RESIDENTS THROW STONES AT UNIFIL

Sat 04 Aug 2018 
NNA - Residents of the southern town of Majdal Zun threw stones at a UNIFIL patrol and delayed their work for taking photographs inside the town's residential neighborhoods, National News Agency correspondent said Saturday. 

AS A FIRST, UNIFIL INTRODUCES 36-HOUR PATROLS

20 Jul 2018 - UNIFIL peacekeepers recently started a series of operational activities lasting 36 hours straight as one more step in strengthening the UN mission's visibility and coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).
Launched in mid-June by UNIFIL's Spanish Contingent, the 36-hour patrol includes a number of activities including foot patrols, vehicle patrols, Blue Line patrols and firing exercises. Members of the LAF also participate in certain sections of the patrol, but not the entire 36-hour stretch.
To date, seven such patrols have been organized – two by the Italian Contingent and one each by the French, Ghanaian, Irish/Finnish, Nepalese and Spanish contingents.
UNIFIL's Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Colonel Amable Sarto, says the new initiative is "one more step forward in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2373," by further increasing the presence, visibility and area dominance of UNIFIL patrols and by enhancing cooperation and visible presence with the LAF.
Adopted on 30 August 2017, Resolution 2373 renewed UNIFIL's mandate by one year and also called for an "accelerated" and "durable" deployment of the LAF in south Lebanon, as well as increased support of and coordination with LAF. It also called for enhanced reporting on all violations of Resolution 1701, which forms the core of UNIFIL's current mandate.
Nepalese Battalion's Chief Operations Officer Major Diwakar Rayamajhi joined a 36-hour patrol earlier this week. This covered a 96 square kilometre area of responsibility in Sector East, including a 15 kilometre stretch of the Blue Line. The patrol carried out 10 operational activities during the 36 hours, including four with the LAF. Maj. Rayamajhi said the patrol further strengthened the collaboration with the LAF and ensured that no hostile activities were taking place.
Patrol Commander Captain Deepak Bahadur Thapa said it was "a new experience" for him. Highlighting the significance of the new initiative, he said having the same set of UN Peacekeepers' eyes cover the same track in one patrolling cycle can better help detect any changes on the ground.