UN chief condemn attack on UN force in Lebanon
Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council released statements here on Tuesday, condemning an attack earlier in the day on members of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Xinhua reported.
"The secretary-general strongly condemns the July 26 attack against a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) convoy on the coastal road near the town of Saida (Sidon), outside UNIFIL 's area of operations," said a statement issued by Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky.
The statement added that Ban sees the safety and security of UNIFIL as being "of paramount importance" and is "deeply disturbed " that this is the second attack on this particular UN force in the last two months.
UNIFIL has been deployed in the southern part of Lebanon since the end of Lebanon's 2006 war with Israel. The force is in charge of monitoring the dividing "blue line" that marks the border between the two countries.
Addressing reporters outside the Security Council, Peter Wittig, permanent representative of Germany to the UN and this month's Council president, said that the Council also condemned Tuesday's violence "in the strongest terms."
He said that six peacekeepers from a French battalion were injured in the attack and that the Council would like to express its sympathy to the loved ones of those hurt.Wittig said in his statement that UNIFIL's mandate must be respected and protected.
"The members of the Security Council call on all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel and to ensure that the freedom of movement of UNIFIL is fully respected in conformity with its mandate and rules of engagement," he said.
He added that the council is pleased with Lebanon's decision to investigate the incident.
"The members of the Security Council welcome the commitment of Lebanon to launch an investigation to bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack," Wittig said.
Ban also welcomed Lebanon's decision to investigate and expressed the hope that "the perpetrators are swiftly identified and brought to justice."