Despite 15 years of peace and stability in Lebanon, its recent strife underlines the need to "redouble" efforts towards a political and diplomatic solution and permanent ceasefire with Israel, the UN peacekeeping force chief, Stefano Del Col, said on Monday.
“We have to redouble our efforts to create space for a political and diplomatic solution, and a permanent ceasefire between Lebanon and Israel,” he told a ceremony at UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura, south Lebanon, to mark United Nations Day.
LNA, UN and local officials attended the ceremony.
“In the meantime, and as a step in that direction, we should firm up the Blue Line arrangement as the essential deconfliction tool,” Del Col said.
He urged the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defence Forces, to set aside their differences and engage on issues related to the Blue Line, to further the goal of peace and stability.
"Events in recent months remind us that we cannot take that stability for granted,” said Del Col. “We must renew and reaffirm our commitment to the goals and purposes of the UN Charter – but especially that first purpose, to maintain international peace and security,
Del Col thanked military and civilian peacekeepers for their contribution to maintaining international peace and security, and during the ceremony, he and LNA South Litani sector commander, Maroun Kobayati, laid wreaths in tribute to fallen peacekeepers.
Del Col specifically honoured a Ghanaian peacekeeper who recently died while serving with UNIFIL, and a Cambodian peacekeeper who suffered serious injuries while helping to clear land mines from Lebanese soil.