World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Most Blue Helmets Now in Place in Southern Lebanon

Most Blue Helmets Now in Place in Southern Lebanon, Says UN Force Chief

New York, Oct 19 2006 7:00PM

Considerable progress has been achieved in southern Lebanon since the Security Council resolution ending the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah, and most of the expected force of blue helmets to monitor the cessation of hostilities has now been deployed, the senior United Nations commander in Lebanon said today.

Briefing reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini said the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has 7,200 soldiers on the ground, including a contingent of 1,500 Germans that is part of the taskforce designated to protect Lebanon’s maritime boundary.

Resolution 1701, adopted by the Council on 11 August to end the 34-day conflict in the Middle East, allows for up to 15,000 UN peacekeepers, but in response to a question Maj.-Gen. Pellegrini described that figure as a ceiling and said the Mission may not need to have more than about 10,000 soldiers.

“I’m very pleased to be able to report that considerable progress has been made since the adoption of resolution 1701,” he said, describing the deployment as a “rapid expansion’ and noting the mix of European and non-European contributing countries.

The near total withdrawal of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) from southern Lebanon has been the most significant event since the resolution was passed, Maj.-Gen. Pellegrini said, and had occurred “without any major disruptions.” The Lebanese military has also fully deployed up to the Golan Heights.

“An appropriate solution” is still being sought for the removal of Israeli forces from Al Ghajar, the one village which they still occupy. Al Ghajar is located on Lebanon’s border with the Golan Heights and has Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian citizens.

Maj.-Gen. Pellegrini said the aim would be to have a UNIFIL unit stationed inside the northern part of the village to enable Lebanese armed forces to enter escorted by blue helmets to affirm their authority over that section and to enable Israelis responsible for social and medical support for their citizens to cross the Blue Line.

Israeli breaches of Lebanese airspace remains “our major concern” and they represent a clear violation of the resolution. Although UNIFIL has been dealing with these violations diplomatically, he said the Mission might later use force. “If diplomatic means should not be enough, maybe we can consider other ways.”

In response to a question, Maj.-Gen. Pellegrini said UNIFIL had no evidence of any weapons smuggling from Syria and had also not found any illegal weapons inside the Mission’s area of operations.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

University of Auckland: Low-Lying Pacific Island Has More Land Above Sea Level Than In 1943

An inhabited island in the low-lying Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands, which are thought to be at risk of being inundated by rising sea levels, has actually increased in size since 1943, scientists say. And the increase in area above sea level is likely ... More>>

APEC : Leaders Issue Kuala Lumpur Declaration

The leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued the Kuala Lumpur Declaration following the first-ever virtual 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Convening for the first time since the ... More>>

OHCHR: UN Committee Issues Recommendations To Combat Racial Profiling

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today published its guidance to combat racial profiling, emphasizing, among other issues, the serious risk of algorithmic bias when artificial intelligence (AI) is used in law enforcement. The ... More>>

G20: Global Co-Operation And Strong Policy Action Needed For A Sustainable Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed major weaknesses in our economies that can only be fixed through greater global co-operation and strong, targeted policy action, according to a new OECD report presented to the Leaders of the G20 countries at their ... More>>