The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will arrive in Lebanon next Sunday, where he will meet with senior officials to discuss latest developments, mainly UNIFIL’s mission, according to what diplomatic sources reported to Sawt Beirut International (SBI). Lacroix will also discuss the situation in the South, and whether it is required to extend UNIFIL’s mission for a new year starting from September.
The visit comes as a result of the deteriorating situation in the South, which escalated yesterday. It also comes after the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued his latest report about UNIFIL’s execution for its mission in the previous period between February 20 and June 18.
The report deals with various events and issues faced by UNIFIL and the Lebanese army, with recommendations and requirements for its work, praising the pros, and drawing attention to the cons that need follow-up and investigation, such as the events that some teams from UNIFIL were subjected to, or the judicial process in the military court, related to the criminal cases that some individuals were subjected to or went victims of in the past.
The report deals with the previous period in May, when the tension increased in the south as a result of the military campaign launched by Israel in Gaza. The report condemns the rockets fired from Southern Lebanon from non-Lebanese parties. It also praises the great efforts made by the Lebanese army to maintain security and reduce tension in southern Lebanon, in coordination with UNIFIL.
The report also presents various developments that occurred in Lebanon during that period, which are not necessarily related to UNIFIL’s mission in the south. This is the direction taken by international reports these days, as they draw attention to the events in Lebanon, regardless of the concerned international organizations.
The report denounced Israel’s ongoing violation of Lebanese sovereignty and Security Council Resolution 1701, especially through the ongoing breaches of Lebanon’s airspace, using warplanes or drones. The report again called on the international community to support the Lebanese army and its capabilities. It stressed the need for the free movement for UNIFIL patrols.
SBI sources noted that reports on UNIFIL have become periodic every 4 months, without being linked to the renewal of UNIFIL’s mission. When the Security Council evaluates these reports, they do not only assess the military situation, but rather the political situation.
The sources stated that the letter the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will send to the Security Council next month, requesting the renewal of “UNIFIL” will serve as a briefing to the Council about UNIFIL, its conditions, workflow, budget, and the security and political environment in which it operates.
Lacroix will meet with the President of the Republic, the head of the resigned government, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs. He will visit the south to meet with the UNIFIL leadership, and he will visit Israel to meet officials there. He will report the results of his mission to Guterres.