UN condemns attack on peacekeepers in southern Lebanon


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council condemned today’s attack on United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon, which occurred on the day the Organization has set aside for honouring the men and women who work to advance peace in war-torn countries.

According to media reports, a roadside bomb ripped through a convoy of UN vehicles belonging to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is headquartered at Naqoura in southern Lebanon.

The attack, which took place north of Sidon, injured six UN peacekeepers of the Italian battalion and two Lebanese civilians, UN News Servic reports.

Speaking in France, where he is attending the annual summit of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialized nations, Mr. Ban extended his sincere sympathies to the peacekeepers and their families as well as the people and Government of Italy.
“The United Nations will work closely together with the Lebanese authorities to have a full and swift investigation on the attack to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said the Secretary-General.

The Security Council also condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” and welcomed the commitment of Lebanon to launch an investigation and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The members of the Security Council condemned all attempts to threaten the security and stability of Lebanon and reaffirmed their determination to ensure that no such acts of intimidation will prevent UNIFIL from implementing its mandate,” Ambassador GĂ©rard Araud of France, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month, said in a statement read out to the press following closed-door discussions.

The attack comes on the same day that the world body commemorates the International Day of UN Peacekeepers to honour colleagues who lost their lives in the line of duty and pay tribute to the 120,000 military, police and civilians who are working under the blue flag around the world for the cause of peace.

Originally created by the Security Council in March 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, UNIFIL was reinforced after the July-August 2006 fighting, with the added mandate to monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.