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August 6, 10

NEWS / UN envoy meets with Lebanese political party leader

29 July 2010 – The calm that has returned to southern Lebanon following recent violence was among the topics discussed in today’s meeting between a senior United Nations official and the head of one of the country’s political parties.

In recent weeks, personnel from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have been the target of protests and attacks by villagers in the south in response to routine military exercises carried out by the mission.

Michael Williams, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said that he expressed “our satisfaction that calm has been restored” during his talks today with Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces party.

“But everyone has to work very hard to maintain that stability and that is absolutely vital now and in the coming weeks and months,” the UN official told reporters following his meeting with Dr. Geagea.

Mr. Williams said he briefed the Lebanese politician on the latest Security Council meeting on resolution 1701, which ended the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah that erupted in 2006, as well as calls for respect for the so-called Blue Line separating the Israeli and Lebanese sides, the disarming of all militias operating in Lebanon and an end to arms smuggling in the area.

During the Council meeting earlier this month, the envoy said that while the resolution has helped to ensure stability, the parties must do more to meet their commitments.

“Stated commitment is good, implementation in practice is better,” he told journalists following that meeting.

In his talks with Dr. Geagea today, Mr. Williams said that he welcomed President Michel Sleiman’s meetings with all key domestic players in the past two weeks.

“I also take this opportunity to welcome the intensive regional diplomacy involving key Arab parties to help defuse the tensions of recent days,” the UN official said.




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