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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Meeting con i Paesi contributori di truppe UNIFIL in Libano

Discorso pronunciato dall’Italia al Meeting in Consiglio di Sicurezza con i Paesi contributori di truppe UNIFIL in Libano —

Mr. President,

Lebanon marked one year since the devastating explosion that destroyed Beirut, killing over 200 people, injuring over 7000 and leaving deep, invisible scars in the fabric of a complex, vibrant and culturally rich society. A society till awaiting for answers, calling for justice and called once again to prove its resilience amid an unprecedented economic, financial and political crisis.

In this crucial juncture, Italy stands by the brotherly people of Lebanon, supporting the swift and unpostponable formation of a new government aimed at addressing – in the plenitude of its powers and at the earliest – the immense challenges lying ahead.

UNIFIL is the living proof of our longstanding commitment to the security and stability of Lebanon. The mission, to which Italy is contributing with approximately 1000 troops, continues to play a seminal role in promoting de-escalation, easing the tensions along the Blue Line, fostering confidence-building between the parties, developing the Lebanese Armed Forces’ capabilities and strengthening their effective presence south of river Litani.

Italy is proud that the mission is acting under the competent and expert leadership of Force Commander General Del Col, whose mandate has been recently renewed for the third time. We also welcome the new Head of Sector West General Lagorio, appointed just three days ago and who is going to coordinate over 3800 troops from 16 of the 45 countries contributing to the mission.

Such a broad, cross-regional engagement is the key behind the success of UNIFIL, a mission who has been operating with dedication, professionalism and diplomacy into a delicate environment, carefully adjusting its action to an ever-changing context recently marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, by the deterioration of the socio-economic conditions in the country and by the spill-over effects of the May events in Gaza and Israel.

We condemn all violations of 1701 whether by land, sea or air. We call on the parties to exercise restraint and engage in a constructive dialogue within the context of the Tripartite framework which remains a critical tool to defuse tensions and prevent any escalatory action.

We are concerned about the worsening conditions of the Lebanese Armed Forces, which are deeply impacted by the economic crisis. The LAF are a traditional cornerstone of stability in the country as well as a UNIFIL’s strategic partner indispensable for the implementation of Resolution 1701. On 17 June Italy co-chaired with France an international conference to mobilize support for the Lebanese Armed Forces. We firmly believe that the latter should be put in a condition to continue to effectively performing critical activities in the South, instrumental, inter alia, to the extension of the state authority of Lebanon in the area.

We commend the fact that the mission was able to maintain a high operational tempo and visible presence throughout the area of operations, despite the pandemic. As we recognize the need to enhance Lebanon’s domestic naval capabilities, we welcome the efforts made by the LAF in inspecting and clearing the vessels refereed to them by UNIFIL, while appreciating at the same time the continuation of maritime interdiction operations performed by the Maritime Task Force.

Though acknowledging the steps taken so far, we cannot but remark that more progress is still needed when it comes to the full and timely access of UNIFIL and to its the freedom of movement of the force, including along the full length of the Blue Line. Likewise, we would like to see more progress also in ensuring accountability for the perpetrators of attacks against peacekeepers.

Mr. President,

As we are approaching the mandate renewal of the mission in the Security Council, we would like to strongly reaffirm, now more than ever, the relevance of UNIFIL’s mandate and its critical role in preserving peace and stability in the country and in the wider region.

In closing, Mr. President, let me also commend the daily, steadfast and dedicated efforts of the UNIFIL peacekeepers who are bravely serving in the mission, in an increasingly volatile context.