BEIRUT: United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon commander Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra visited Lebanese top officials Tuesday to bid farewell and introduce his successor, according to a UNIFIL statement.
Two days prior to handing over the peacekeeping command, Serra visited Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Lebanese Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi and Director General of General Security Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.
Accompanied by his Italian successor Maj. Gen. Luciano Portolano, who will take up the position of UNIFIL head of mission and force commander, Serra officially bid farewell to the Lebanese authorities.
Serra said that in addition to thanking the officials for their support to him “personally” and “to our mission for peace in south Lebanon,” he discussed with them the latest developments on the border with Israel. He also thanked the people of south Lebanon for their hospitality toward UNIFIL.
“Our respect for the communities that are hosting us, their understanding and acceptance of UNIFIL’s role amid them, are paramount for the implementation of our mandate,” he said.
Serra expressed confidence that his successor would handle the responsibility well. “Maj. Gen. Portolano will continue to build on the strong foundations for peace in the south.”