BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun called Tuesday for the mandate renewal of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Lebanon amid "ongoing Israeli threats and an unstable regional landscape."
Aoun's comments came during his meeting with Italian Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta at the Baabda Presidential Palace, during which he asked for an extension of UNIFIL’s mandate, without "decreasing the scope of its operations or budget."
"These forces play an important role in maintaining security and stability on the southern border in cooperation with the Lebanese army," Aoun said.
Trenta reportedly reaffirmed her support to Lebanon, assuring Aoun of her backing of the mandate renewal while reiterating her country's commitment to providing further assistance to Lebanon's armed forces in line with the promises made at the Rome II donor conference earlier this year.
The Italian Defense Minister also welcomed UNIFIL's transfer of command, as outgoing UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Michael Beary handed over the reigns to Italian Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col.
Last week, the United Nations Security Council called for the renewal of UNIFIL's mandate, which expires at the end of the month.
“Members expressed hope that a new government of national unity will be formed swiftly and look forward to the upcoming mandate renewal of UNIFIL,” said Olof Skoog, the permanent representative of Sweden to the U.N. and president of the Security Council for the month of July.
The 10,500-strong United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has been stationed along the southern border since 1978 when it was charged with confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces from a demilitarized zone between the two countries.
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.