UNIFIL will enforce Resolution 1701, stop flotilla if needed
By Roee Nahmias
Diplomatic elements in New York said that UNIFIL headquarters in the city have warned Lebanon that UN naval forces will not allow any violation of resolution 1701 and will prevent any such violation, the Lebanese newspaper as-Safir reported Saturday.
UN Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War, stipulates that the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon’s role is to ensure that the region will not be used for any aggressive actions; to work against forceful attempts aimed at preventing it from doing its job in accordance with a Security Council mandate; protect UN staff, facilities and equipment; ensure the safe movement of UN staff and humanitarian workers; and protect citizens in immediate danger, without favoring its responsibility towards the Lebanese government.
The newspaper nevertheless noted that the UNIFIL HQ in south Lebanon did not confirm the report. A senior source told as-Safir that “the naval unit’s mission is to assist the Lebanese government in preventing any unauthorized transfer of weapons into Lebanon via the sea, at its request.”
It was further reported that Israel had strongly urged Beirut not to allow the arrival of the boats to the Gaza Strip.
According to a report by an as-Safir reporter in New York, Israel had warned Lebanon that it would use all necessary means in order to prevent the vessels from reaching the Gaza Strip claiming the flotilla’s organizers have connections with Hezbollah.
On Friday, Israel warned the UN that the security situation in the Middle East may be undermined as result of a the Lebanese flotilla planning to head to the Gaza Strip.
In a letter relayed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev said the “provocative” sail may affect security in the entire region.
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