Beirut, UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) chief Stefano Del Col has called on Lebanon and Israel to resume technical Blue Line talks in order to reach agreements on a number of contentious areas along the demarcation line.
During this year’s first tripartite meeting with senior officers from Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in Ras Al Naqoura, Del Col urged both sides to use the tripartite platform to build on previous accomplishments and move toward a more stable environment, reports Xinhua news agency.
Addressing both delegations, Del Col reflected on the challenges and opportunities he has encountered since taking charge of UNIFIL in August 2018, and on the way forward.
“We must all play our part to move from the technical level towards the higher-level goal of a sustainable peace,” he said, adding “this is my parting challenge to you all”.
The UNIFIL chief urged both parties to offer their usual support to his successor Major General Aroldo Lazaro Saenz of Spain, who will assume his responsibilities by the end of February.
Del Col stressed the importance of maintaining the same level of commitment, building on the progress made so far, and completing those outstanding points on which the parties have already agreed, in line with the Security Council’s expectations.
The Blue Line is a border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the UN in 2000.
UNIFIL was first established in 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
After the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, UNIFIL’s mandate was expanded to monitor the cessation of hostilities and to accompany the deployment of Lebanese armed forces throughout southern Lebanon as Israel withdraws its troops.