UN holds tripartite meeting with Lebanese, Israeli army officials

August 5, 2010 10:15 am 

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 5 — The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) convened an "urgent" tripartite meeting on Wednesday with representatives of the Lebanese Armed Forces ( LAF) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy told reporters here.

Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, UNIFIL force commander, chaired the meeting that took place a day after both sides engaged in deadly clashes along the so-called Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel. The clashes resulted in the "most serious" incident since 2006, said Le Roy.

In an attempt to defuse tensions, Le Roy emphasized the importance of the talks in preventing future eruptions of violence.

"It is the best way of course, it is a way where both parties meet together to resolve any issues they have," he said.

The talks were held at the UNIFIL position at the Ras Al Naqoura crossing in southern Lebanon, with UN special coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams also in attendance.

The deadly exchange of fire occurred on Tuesday on the UN-drawn border, created after the withdrawal of the Israeli army from southern Lebanon in 2000. An Israeli soldier and four Lebanese were killed, including a journalist.

Established in 1978, UNIFIL expanded in 2006 to monitor the cessation of hostilities between Israel and the Lebanese group Hezbollah, under the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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