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UNIFIL: Italy reaffirms, “now more than ever” importance of mission’s mandate

NEW YORK, AUGUST 6 – Ahead of the Security Council’s meeting for the yearly renewal of the UNIFIL mission, Italy strongly reaffirmed, “now more than ever,” the importance of the peacekeeping force’s mandate and its critical role in all its components, including the Maritime Task Force, in preserving peace and stability in the country and the region at large.

On August 4, Lebanon marked one year since the devastating explosion that destroyed the port of Beirut, killing more than 200 people, injuring more than 7,000 and leaving deep and invisible scars in the fabric of a complex, vibrant and culturally rich society that awaits answers, demands justice and is called once again to demonstrate its resilience amidst an unprecedented economic, financial and political crisis, said the Military Advisor to the Italian Mission to the UN, General Fabrizio Parrulli during a Security Council meeting with troop-contributing countries in Southern Lebanon.

“UNIFIL is the living proof of our longstanding commitment to the security and stability of Lebanon. The mission, to which Italy contributes about 1,000 troops, continues to play a key role in promoting de-escalation, easing tensions along the Blue Line, fostering confidence-building between the parties, developing the capabilities of the Lebanese Armed Forces and strengthening their effective presence south of the Litani River,” said the General expressing Italy’s “pride” because the mission is acting under the competent and experienced leadership of Force Commander, General Stefano Del Col, whose mandate was recently renewed for the third time, and welcoming the new Head of the Western Sector, General Stefano Lagorio, who was appointed just three days ago and who will coordinate over 3800 troops from 16 of the 45 countries contributing to the mission.

Stefano Del Col

“Such a broad and inter-regional commitment is the key to the success of UNIFIL, a mission that has operated with dedication, professionalism and diplomacy in a delicate environment, carefully adapting its action to a changing context, marked recently by the Covid-19 pandemic, the deterioration of the country’s socio-economic conditions and the fallout of the May events in Gaza and Israel,” Italy said, condemning all violations of Resolution 1701 by land, sea or air, and calling on the parties to exercise restraint and engage in constructive dialogue in the context of the Tripartite framework, which remains a key tool to defuse tensions and prevent any escalatory action.

At the same time, General Parrulli expressed concern about the worsening conditions of the Lebanese Armed Forces, which are deeply affected by the economic crisis: “LAF is a traditional cornerstone of the country’s stability, as well as a strategic partner of UNIFIL indispensable for the implementation of Resolution 1701. On June 17, Italy co-chaired with France an international conference to mobilize support for the Lebanese Armed Forces. We firmly believe that they must be enabled to continue to effectively carry out critical activities in the South, instrumental, among other things, to the extension of Lebanon’s state authority in the area.” (@OnuItalia)

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