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UN peacekeeping chief meets with Israeli, Lebanese officials

6 May 2009 – The United Nations peacekeeping chief today voiced hope that ongoing talks will lead to a quick end to the dispute over Ghajar, a village that straddles the so-called Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, as he met with officials from the two countries.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Alain Le Roy was attending the monthly tripartite meeting convened by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with senior officials from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

The meeting, held at the UN Position near the Ras Al Naqoura crossing, discussed Security Council resolution 1701, which helped end the war between Israel and Hizbollah in the summer of 2006. That text also called for renewed respect for the Blue Line, the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling, among other measures.

Today’s discussions centred on recent violations of the Blue Line, as well as the demarcation of the Line through the village of Ghajar.

In his most recent report to the Security Council on resolution 1701, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote that rockets fired into Israel from south Lebanon and return fire at the time of the recent crisis in Gaza led to heightened tensions along the Blue Line.

Mr. Ban also said he was pleased that the parties have made strides to visibly mark the Blue Line, encouraging Lebanon and Israel to stay the course and build on existing momentum to curb inadvertent violations and boost confidence.

Mr. Le Roy acknowledged efforts made at the tripartite meeting on the issue of northern Ghajar, in order to achieve a complete withdrawal of the IDF from the area. “I hope that the ongoing discussions on the basis of UNIFIL’s proposal of last year will lead to a speedy resolution of this matter,” he stated.


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