The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today marked the 77th United Nations Day at its headquarters in Naqoura. Following the positive outcome of the maritime negotiations, the Mission reaffirmed its strong commitment to creating space for a political and diplomatic solution between Lebanon and Israel.
“Recent events give us hope,” said UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lázaro. “If the two countries can find an understanding at sea, my hope is that, someday soon, they will also be able to find it on land – and, inshallah, on the fundamental issues that divide them.”
A ceremonial parade during the event featured UNIFIL peacekeepers representing 48 national contingents. Marching in formation and carrying their national flags, the peacekeepers welcomed senior officers of the Lebanese Armed Forces, Lebanese authorities and religious leaders, as well as representatives from various international organizations, NGOs and UN agencies.
Upon the raising of the UN, Lebanese and contingent flags, Major General Lázaro and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) representative Brigadier General Roger Helou laid wreaths at the UNIFIL Cenotaph in honour of the peacekeepers who lost their lives in the service of peace in Lebanon.
In a speech for the occasion, Major General Lázaro paid homage to the legacy and accomplishments of the United Nations, whose Charter came into force on this day in 1945. The United Nations “has helped pull millions of people out of starvation and poverty, vaccinated millions more against serious diseases, and negotiated peace agreements to avoid conflict all over the world, among so many other things.”
Major General Lázaro continued in expressing optimism for progress in South Lebanon. “Since my arrival as Head of Mission and Force Commander, I have continually urged the parties to continue marking the Blue Line and resolve outstanding points of contention,” he said. This would be both symbolic and pragmatic steps toward long-term stability.”
In closing, the Head of Mission and Force Commander underlined the success of UNIFIL’s partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Mission’s unwavering commitment to achieving a permanent ceasefire between Lebanon and Israel under Security Council Resolution 1701.