Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Zeina Akar, visited Saturday the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, where she was received by UNIFIL Commander, General Stefano Del Col, and a number of senior officers.


Discussions during their meeting touched on the latest developments in light of the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate and the reduction in the number of its soldiers, in addition to the Blue Line, and the daily Israeli violations and breaches of Lebanon.


According to a statement by Akar’s press office, the Caretaker Minister stressed “the need for the international forces to oblige the Israeli enemy to fully respect the provisions of Resolution 1701,” noting that “Lebanon’s commitment to international resolutions does not mean giving up our right to defending our homeland and our sovereignty against any aggression.”


“Despite the reduction in the number of the international forces, we are confident that the peacekeeping missions will remain the same,” she added, highlighting the “need for coordination and cooperation between the Lebanese army and UNIFIL to deter attacks,” and praising their role “in maintaining peace and stability.”


For his part, General Del Col gave a briefing on the decision to renew the international forces at the United Nations, noting “the importance of cooperation with the Lebanese army along the Blue Line,” and indicating that the UNIFIL forces have begun providing aid after the Beirut port explosion, alongside confronting the Corona epidemic.


After their meeting, Akar and General Del Col circled in a military helicopter over the Blue Line, where the Minister was given a detailed explanation of the missions of UNIFIL and the points of reservation for Lebanon.


Akar then she visited the French battalion command in Deir Kifa, where she met with its Commander, Colonel Gregory Colombani, and a number of officers.


Colombani briefed Akar on the field work of the French forces in southern Lebanon, in terms of enhancing stability and integration in the local environment, and the assistance provided to the people, especially in the domain of education and in light of the difficult economic situation and the Corona epidemic.


Akar thanked the French contingent forces for their contribution to maintaining security and peace in South Lebanon, commending the French role in supporting Lebanon internally and in international forums.


The Caretaker Defense Minister also inspected the Fifth Intervention Regiment base in the southern town of Kfardounin, were she was received by the Regiment’s Commander, Brigadier General Mohammad al-Amin, and a number of Lebanese army officers and soldiers.


Akar had a closer look at the Regiment’s missions in the South, and at the points of the Blue Line, and how it responded to the Israeli enemy’s violations, especially the enemy drone and its downfall.


Akar considered that this matter “constitutes a new achievement for the Lebanese army, which remains on alert and is highly prepared to confront the enemy and thwart its plans aimed at undermining the sovereignty and unity of Lebanon.”


“We will always remain, government and people, by your side for the sake defending and protecting Lebanon,” she affirmed, while urging the soldiers to adhere to the safety conditions against the Corona virus.


Akar then had a stop-over at a border post belonging to the Fifth Infantry Brigade, led by Brigadier General Edgar Lawandes, were she was briefed on the army’s missions in that area, in addition to a detailed explanation of the full readiness of the Lebanese army and its coordination with UNIFIL.


The Minister praised the efforts of the Fifth Infantry Brigade, and said: “We have great confidence in you, because the march to maintain security and stability is long, but it will be achieved thanks to your determination, will, capabilities and courage to confront the Israeli enemy and preserve the sovereignty of Lebanon.”


Akar’s last stop-over in her southern tour was at the Italian contingent’s base in the town of Shamaa, in the presence of General Del Col, where she met with the commander of the battalion, Brigadier General Andrea Stasio, who presented her with a detailed explanation of the Italian forces’ mission in their areas of presence at the military level, in addition to the development projects and activities carried out to enhance integration into the local environment.


Akar stressed herein “the importance of the role played by the Italian forces,” thanking the government and people of Italy for their efforts to support Lebanon, especially through the aid provided after the Beirut port explosion and the fight against the Corona epidemic.


The Caretaker Minister also emphasized “the necessity of adhering to UN Resolution # 1701 and coordinating with the Lebanese Army to address the repeated Israeli attacks on Lebanon.”


Source: National News Agency

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