Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Aroldo Lazaro Saenz on Wednesday urged Lebanon and Israel to engage in talks to avoid incidents along the Blue Line.
“UNIFIL chief appealed for engagement in Blue Line talks to address outstanding issues,” a UNIFIL statement quoted Lazaro Saenz as saying during a tripartite meeting with senior officers from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at a UN position in Ras al-Naqoura of southern Lebanon.
At the meeting, Lazaro Saenz expressed his concerns over rising tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border and called on relevant parties to seek UNIFIL support to solve conflicts.
“UNIFIL chief urged the parties to continue to avail of UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination mechanisms while avoiding unilateral actions,” the statement read.
The Blue Line, established by the United Nations in 2000, spans 120 kilometers and serves to verify the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon. It is a temporary demarcation line until the two countries officially establish their land borders.
The tensions along the Lebanese-Israeli border have been growing since last month when the Israeli side deployed bulldozers to install cement blocks and barbed wires, and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group in Lebanon, erected two tents that Israel claimed were built on its territory.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006 that ended in a UN-sponsored cease-fire.