Wronecka urges Israel-Hezbollah de-escalation and steps towards longer-term Solutions

The U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka is “deeply concerned by the gradual expansion in the exchange of fire across the Blue Line in scope, scale and intensity, which increases the risks of a broader conflagration and undermines Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006),” her office said in a statement. 

“She urges an immediate halt to this dangerous cycle of violence and return to a cessation of hostilities,” the statement said.

Regretting the impact of the fighting on civilian lives and property and the displacement of thousands of border residents, the Special Coordinator reiterated the “urgent need to adhere to international humanitarian law and to the protection of civilians at all times.”

In exercise of “her good offices,” the Special Coordinator “has intensified her engagement with all stakeholders towards urgent steps for de-escalation,” the statement said.

She has also encouraged “concerted efforts by international partners to help the parties find sustainable solutions that enhance security and stability along the Blue Line,” it added. 

“The Special Coordinator remains committed to supporting a political process towards a permanent ceasefire and long-term solution to the conflict as envisaged in resolution 1701,” the statement said.

The fighting witnessed a major escalation on Monday, with Israel carrying out airstrikes in the eastern Baalbek region for the first time since the 2006 war, in response to Hezbollah’s downing of an advanced Israeli drone in south Lebanon.

Since October 8, Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged near-daily fire. At least 284 people have been killed on the Lebanese side since fighting erupted, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 44 civilians. On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed according to the Israeli army.

The fighting has also displaced tens of thousands of residents on both sides of the border and Israel has repeatedly warned that it might use bigger force against Hezbollah to secure its residents' return.

Source: Naharnet

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