UNIFIL recently delivered food for 30,000 meals, 40,000 liters of diesel fuel, and 72 kg worth of medical supplies to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in South Lebanon.
It is certainly unusual for a peacekeeping mission to supply provisions – but so is the situation in Lebanon since 2019. The economic crisis, the collapse of the Lebanese pound and the soaring cost of living has affected everyone in the country – including the armed forces that UNIFIL peacekeepers are mandated to work together with and support.
The United Nations Security Council recognized this challenge and decided, with the adoption of Resolution 2591 (2021), to request UNIFIL to take “temporary and special measures” to support the LAF with essential, non-lethal items like medicine, fuel, food, and other logistics. This support has been extended for a further six months in Resolution 2650 (2022).
On 5 December 2022, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lázaro and the Lebanese Minister of Defense Maurice Sleem signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize this support.
Why is it important? Because the presence and authority of the LAF in South Lebanon is paramount for the continuous preservation of security and stability. Under Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006), UNIFIL is mandated to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces to establish itself between the Litani River and the Blue Line. UNIFIL has been working closely with LAF over the past 16 years to accomplish this task and will continue to do so. The essential supplies of food, fuel, and medicine will enable the Lebanese Armed Forces to sustain their presence and cooperation with UNIFIL peacekeepers without significant interruptions.