The top United Nations envoy to Lebanon has met with that country’s Prime Minister as part of his continuing efforts to promote stability and dialogue in the Middle Eastern nation.
During what he described as “a very good meeting” on Saturday with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams said they discussed developments in Lebanon and the region and the situation in the country’s south and along the Blue Line, as well as the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701.
Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizbollah, calls for respect of the so-called Blue Line separating the Israeli and Lebanese sides, the disarming of all militias operating in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area.
In a statement issued by his office, Mr. Williams welcomed the return of calm to the south following the deadly border clashes at Al-Adaysseh on 3 August, as well as the commitments of both parties to the cessation of hostilities.
“Since this incident, there have been two meetings of the tripartite group in Naqoura, one of which I attended myself on 4 August, and there will be another meeting next week, I believe on 2 September,” he said.
“All sides I think now have to work very hard to prevent a recurrence of any incident like that of 3 August, which could lead to a deterioration of the situation. But I believe at the moment we have returned to relative normality.”
Mr. Williams said they had also discussed some recent developments in Lebanon, and in Beirut in particular, and he expressed his condolences to the Prime Minister about the lives that were lost in Bourj Abi-Haidar last Tuesday evening.
He was referring to armed clashes last week between Shi’a and Sunni Muslim groups in the capital, Beirut, in which three people were reportedly killed.
“I commended the Prime Minister and his Government for the actions they have taken in the wake of that serious incident to contain any further outbreaks of violence, and to address the issue of firearms in the city of Beirut,” Mr. Williams said.
“I also commended the role of the Lebanese Armed Forces in working hard to maintain security and stability in Lebanon and underlined the importance of Lebanon’s institutions in maintaining calm and stability at this moment.”