Wed, 28 Sep 2022

BEIRUT, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Wednesday confirmed its commitment to peace and security in southern Lebanon and stressed the importance of the partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

"Along the Blue Line, we have seen relative stability, not peace. But thanks to the commitment of the parties and to the effectiveness of UNIFIL's liaison and coordination mechanisms, so far, that stability has held," said UNIFIL Chief Aroldo Lazaro Saenz at a ceremony held at the UNIFIL's headquarters in southern Lebanon to commemorate the International Day of Peace.

The Blue Line is a demarcation line between Lebanon and Israel as well as Lebanon and the Golan Heights published by the United Nations in 2000 for the purposes of determining whether Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon.

At Wednesday's event, peacekeepers representing the current 48 troop-contributing countries in UNIFIL were joined by representatives of the local authorities, religious leaders, Lebanese armed and security forces and members of the international community.

Lazaro, together with Brigadier General Roger Helou representing the Lebanese Armed Forces, laid wreaths at the cenotaph in memory of the over 300 UNIFIL peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the line of duty in southern Lebanon since 1978.

During the ceremony, military staff officers were awarded with the UN Peacekeeping Medal in recognition for their participation in UNIFIL, and as is customary, white doves were released at UNIFIL's cenotaph to symbolize peace.

Lazaro was aware of the challenges ahead, saying that "peace is not something that we, international peacekeepers, can achieve alone."

"We rely on our strong relationships with the communities who host and welcome us, who greet us every day as we perform our daily activities, and with whom we may share a coffee or a meal to discuss their needs and concerns," he added.

The International Day of Peace was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981. It is dedicated to cease-fire and non-violence and is an occasion during which all promote tolerance, justice and human rights.

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