UNIFIL Marks International Day of Mine Awareness, Suleiman Pledges International Aidإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Head of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon Major-General Paolo Serra stressed on Wednesday the importance of marking the Blue Line which is an “essential task of the UNIFIL’s mandate.”
“Completing the process will reduce the potential for incidents and tensions in the area,” Serra said during a ceremony marking the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
The ceremony was held at the UNIFIL’s headquarters in Naqoura, according to a press release by the peacekeeping force.
The statement said that Serra honored the UNIFIL de-mining teams and paid tribute to the de-miners and Lebanese civilians who lost their lives or were injured by mines and unexploded ordnance.
Program Manager of U.N. Mine Action Support Team (UNMAST) Michael Hands, marked the day by roller-skiing from the city of Tyre to UNIFIL Headquarters, where he was received by Serra.
Meanwhile, President Michel Suleiman expressed hope that the international and regional countries would exert efforts to reach an agreement on the prevention of using mines.
He noted that Lebanon needs all the efforts in order to de-mine the land that were planted by Israel in the South.
Suleiman stressed that the international community should pressure Israel to hand over the maps for the mines that were planted.
The UNIFIL currently has 11 combat engineering teams from its Belgian, Cambodian, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish contingents.
During 2002–2008, mine clearance in southern Lebanon was coordinated by U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center of Southern Lebanon (UNMACC-SL) as a partnership between the U.N. and Lebanese Armed Forces.
As part of this coordinated effort, UNIFIL de-mining teams have since the 2006 conflict contributed to de-mining around 4.8 million square meters of affected land and destroyed more than 34,000 unexploded ordnance and mines in southern Lebanon.