Major General Aroldo Lazaro, Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), urged on Thursday Lebanon and Israel to continue to coordinate their movement near the Blue Line with the international force.
The Blue Line marks the border between the two neighbors.
Chairing a regular tripartite meeting between senior Lebanese and Israeli officers at the southern border town of Ras al-Naqoura, Lazaro underscored the importance of coordination to ease tensions.
He added that the “lack of clarity of the Blue Line” has added to tensions.
The Blue Line was established in 2000 after Israel pulled its forces out of southern Lebanon. A project has been in place since 2007 to demarcate the border line.
“The Blue Line marking project provides a guide in approximating the Blue Line trajectory. Clarity on the precise trajectory of the Blue Line is determined through the deployment of UNIFIL assets,” Lazaro said.
Moreover, he noted that actions that stoke tensions, such as the pointing of weapons, firing of live ammunition, laser-pointing, and stone-throwing, have continued along the border areas in spite of his demand that they stop.
He encouraged parties to make use of UNIFIL’s resources “to help avoid tensions like those seen recently.”
Thursday’s discussions focused on the latest UN Secretary-General report, air and ground violations, and other issues within the scope of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and subsequent resolutions.
Since the end of the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel, regular tripartite meetings have been held under UNIFIL’s auspices as an “essential conflict-management and confidence-building mechanism,” the UN force said.
“Today’s was the 159th such meeting. Through its liaison and coordination mechanisms, UNIFIL remains the only forum through which Lebanese and Israeli armies officially meet,” it added.