The UN Security Council on Friday deplored the recent happenings in the operation areas of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL), and urged all parties in Lebanon to allow free movement of UN peacekeepers, Xinhua reported.
Uche Joy Ogwu, the Nigerian UN ambassador who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for July, made the statement to the press here after the 15-nation Council met behind closed doors to discuss recent clashes between UN peacekeepers and civilians in southern Lebanon.
"The members of the Security Council strongly deplore the recent incidents that took place involving UNIFIL peacekeepers, which took place in southern Lebanon on June 29, July 3 and July 4 in the UNIFIL area of operation," the statement said.
The Security Council "calls on all parties to ensure that the freedom of movement of UNIFL remains respected," the statement said. "The members of the Security Council also call on all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel."
Last week, residents in southern Lebanon blocked the Odaissi- Kfar Kila-Tayba road to prevent vehicles of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from passing through. In Kherbit Selim, a UNIFIL soldier was injured during the attack on the vehicle he was aboard.
"The members of the Council welcomed the fact that in its statement of July 8 the government of Lebanon deplored these above mentioned incidents, reaffirmed its commitments to UNIFIL as well as the full implementation of Resolution 1701," said the statement.
UNIFIL was mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to conduct peacekeeping operations in southern Lebanon. The resolution ended the 34-day war between Israel and the Shiite armed group Hezbollah.
"The members of the Security Council call for continued reinforcement of the cooperation between the Lebanese armed forces and UNIFIL," the statement said.
"The members of the Security Council stress the importance of increasing the Lebanese armed forces deployed in southern Lebanon consistent with Resolution 1701," said the statement.
"The members of the Security Council reiterate their full support for UNFIL and call on all parties to cooperate with the mission," the statement added.