HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, February 8, 2007
SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS EXPRESS CONCERN
OVER LATEST ISRAEL-LEBANON SKIRMISH
- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned about the exchange of
fire between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defence Forces
(IDF) across the Blue Line last night in the general area of Maroun Al Ras.
- The exchange of fire, which was initiated by the LAF after an IDF
bulldozer crossed the technical fence in an apparent attempt to clear the
area between the technical fence and the Blue Line of mines, constitutes a
breach of the cessation of hostilities as laid out in Security Council
resolution 1701 (2006).
- The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) deployed to the area immediately
and was in contact with both sides urging them to cease hostilities. UNIFIL
is currently ascertaining all the facts concerning the incident. The
Secretary-General encourages the parties to make use of the tripartite
coordination mechanism in order to avoid similar incidents in the future.
- All such violations of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) endanger
the fragile calm that prevails in southern Lebanon. The Secretary-General
calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint, avoid provocative
actions and display responsibility in implementing resolution 1701 (2006).
- The UNIFIL Force Commander, Major General Claude Graziano, was in contact
with both sides, urging them to cease hostilities immediately. At around
23:30 hrs both sides ceased firing.
- UNIFIL troops have been deployed in the area and are ascertaining the
facts concerning the incident.
- In response to further questions about the situation on the ground, the
Spokeswoman said that, according to UNIFIL, the situation in the general
area of Maroun Al Ras has been relatively quiet today.
- UNIFIL troops have been deployed in significant numbers. They have been
ascertaining the facts of yesterday's incident and the findings will be
communicated to both parties.
- UNIFIL troops, in coordination with the Lebanese army, have also placed a
sign to visibly mark the Blue Line in this area.
- The Force Commander, Maj. Gen Graziano, has been in contact with the
parties and has called for a tripartite meeting with the senior
representatives of the Lebanese Army and the Israel Defence Force early next
week, Montas added.
- After the noon briefing, the Security Council read a press statement on
the same subject that said, "The members of the Council expressed deep
concern about this incident. They look forward to the ascertaining of all
the facts by UNIFIL and to the forthcoming tripartite meeting asked for by
UNIFIL Force Commander. The members of the Council appealed to all parties
to respect the Blue Line in its entirety, to exercise utmost restraint and
to refrain from any action that could further escalate the situation."
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
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