The commander of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Lebanon today met with Israeli and Lebanese military officers in a continuing effort to avoid a repeat of last month’s deadly border clashes.
Speaking after a meeting with military units from Israel and Lebanon at the UN’s Ras Al Naqoura crossing, Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said: “Our discussions today will help UNIFIL’s investigation into the tragic events of 15 May. My priority now is to bring the investigation to a speedy conclusion.”
Some 12 people were reportedly killed on 15 May, in border protests in Lebanon, the occupied Golan Heights and the occupied Palestinian territories. The protests around the region took place as many Palestinians marked what they refer to as Nakba or catastrophe – the anniversary of Israeli independence in 1948.
“It is imperative that we do our utmost to avoid future incidents leading to violations of resolution 1701, and to prevent civilian casualties, rising tensions and danger of escalation,” Maj.-Gen. Asarta said.
UN Resolution 1701 of 2006 called for a full cessation of hostilities in the month-long war between Israel and Hizbollah, mapped out a formula for the phased withdrawal of the Israel Defence Forces from southern Lebanon, and provided for up to 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of the area.