FEBRUARY 2, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) In a press release by UNIFIL, it said: “UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano today called on Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam in his office in Beirut to discuss the situation in the UNIFIL Area of Operations in view of the recent incidents in southern Lebanon.”
The release added: “The Force Commander welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement on the dangerous developments of 28 January 2015 reaffirming the Government’s commitment to resolution 1701 and briefed him on the meetings he has been having with the parties to de-escalate the situation and bring back stability in UNIFIL’s area of operations.
Major-General Portolano said: “Today I had a very good meeting with the Prime Minister. I shared my concern with the recent incidents in UNIFIL’s AO, which resulted in the tragic death of a Spanish peacekeeper and the increasing tension we have been witnessing in the area.
There is an urgent need to prevent any further escalation of the situation which could potentially undermine the peace and security that we were able to achieve and preserve since 2006.
Those actions not only have the potential to compromise the stability that has prevailed in more than eight years in southern Lebanon, but also cause harm to the peacekeepers and endanger the safety of the local population and the security of the south”
“I thanked the Prime Minister for his strong support and for his pivotal role at the highest level to ensure that peace and stability is maintained in UNIFIL’s area of operations. I highly appreciate his relentless efforts in calming the situation and his active engagement with the Lebanese and international interlocutors. I also expressed my deep appreciation for the Prime Minister’s condolences messages following the tragic death of Corporal Lance Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo of the Spanish contingent. I assured the Prime Minister of UNIFIL’s continued efforts, in close coordination with the LAF, to preserve stability in the south and calling on all concerned to exercise maximum calm and restraint at all times. The situation in UNIFIL’s AO is now stable and under control,” He added.
General Portolano said: “I conveyed to the Prime Minister the UN Secretary-General’s message issued last week underlining his concerns over the serious deterioration of the security situation, to refrain from any action that could undermine the stability of the area and to act responsibly to prevent any escalation in an already tense regional environment.”
“I told the Prime Minister that the investigations into the events are ongoing on both sides of the Blue Line to ascertain all facts and circumstances about the incident of 28 January 2015,” the Major General concluded.
UNIFIL remains focused on its mission to fulfill the mandate under UN Security Council resolution 1701, together with the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Force Commander said.
SOURCE: National News Agency- Lebanon