BEIRUT — United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Commander, General Aroldo Lazaro, stated on Thursday that the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 "is a collective responsibility," the state-run National News Agency reported.
Resolution 1701 ended the July 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel and necessitated significant Lebanese Army deployment in the area of southern Lebanon controlled by UNIFIL, where Hezbollah's influence is strong.
"The full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 is a collective responsibility, and the commitment of different parties is necessary to progress toward a long-term solution," Lazaro said during an event at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, South Lebanon to mark International Peace Day.
General Lazaro's statement is one of the first since the UN Security Council voted to extend UNIFIL's mandate until Aug. 31, 2024.
Several officials participated in the event, including the Parliament Deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab and UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka.
"As our name suggests, we are peacekeepers. We protect it; we do not impose it by force. We preserve the peace that gives each side its space," Lazaro added. "If this peace is in danger, UNIFIL will be present and ready to assist."
UNIFIL, currently consisting of a little over 10,000 Blue Helmets, was established by the Security Council in 1978 to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from South Lebanon. Its mandate is renewed annually following approval by Lebanese authorities and a vote in the Security Council.