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UNIFIL: Lebanon, Israel Not Seeking Escalation

UNIFIL: Lebanon, Israel Not Seeking Escalation

Tuesday, 15 January, 2019 - 09:15
The head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), General Stefano Del Col, during his visit to caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil (Dalati & Nohra)
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat
The head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), General Stefano Del Col, said that Lebanon and Israel were not seeking to escalate tension on the southern Lebanese border.

“I am encouraged by the assurance by both sides that neither is seeking an escalation in tension, and that they remain determined to work with UNIFIL to ensure that the cessation of hostilities is maintained,” Del Col said following his meeting on Monday with Foreign Affairs Minister in the caretaker government, Gebran Bassil.

The UNIFIL commander described his meeting with Bassil as “very good and constructive”, adding: “Much of my efforts in recent weeks has been to address with the parties concerns related to the latest developments along the Blue Line. I stressed the importance of continued engagement of the parties through UNIFIL’s good offices, in particular the tripartite forum, so that common solutions to these issues could be found.”

Del Col underlined the importance of “preserving the overall calm and stability along the Blue Line”, which he said was “the primary consideration in all our initiatives and efforts to resolve contentious issues.”

“We will continue to use UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination mechanism to find a mutually agreed way forward regarding any activities along the Blue Line,” he affirmed, calling on both parties to “respect their obligations towards UN Security Council resolution 1701, and to avoid violations of all forms, and to not only maintain the cessation of hostilities but to work towards a permanent ceasefire.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported on Monday that Israeli forces were pursuing works to cast concrete in a trench that is set up to fix concrete wall blocks adjacent to a fence in the outskirts of Adeisseh. They also resumed the construction of an iron fence above a cement wall along the border separating the town of Kfarkila and occupied Palestine territories.

The NNA added that Israel’s activities took place under heavy deployment by the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL in the Lebanese side of the border.

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