BEIRUT: UN Special Coordinator Derek PLumbly has called for safeguarding calm and security along the Bue Line, following a spate of rocket-launching from Lebanon at Israel which drew massive retaliatory Israeli fire, jeopardizing security on the volatile border.
Speaking after a meeting Thursday with Speaker Nabih Berri, Plumby underscored the urgency of ending presidential vacuum which, he said, is impacting the proper functioning of state institutions, including parliament.
“I just had good discussions with the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri. Among the issues covered obviously was the situation in south Lebanon and across the Blue Line,” Plumby said.
He added: “We both agreed on the importance of safeguarding the calm that has prevailed and ensuring the effective implementation of resolution 1701.”
The UN special coordinator has earlier called on parties “to exercise self-restraint”, urging cooperation with UNIFIL forces in implementing resolution 1701 as to prevent any further escalation of events.
Rockets were fired at Israel over four consecutive days in the past week, drawing Israeli artillery fire in retaliation, and raising concern of escalation on the border which has been mostly calm.
Resolution 1701, which ended Israel’s 33-day war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, entrusted the Lebanese Army, backed by UNIFIL, with maintaining peace and security along the Blue Line, banning any other military presence south of the Litani River.
Plumby said Berri acknowledged that the vacancy in the presidency was adversely impacting the work of state institutions, and agreed on “that all concerned should come together to ensure the election of a president without further delay.”
Lebanon’s parliament has so far failed to elect a successor to President Michel Sleiman whose six-year mandate expires last May 25. Eight attempts to elect a president since April proved to be fruitless due to sharp divisions.