UN Chief Condemns Attack on Peacekeepers in Southern Lebanon

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–27 May 2011.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned today’s attack on United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon, adding that it is all the more deplorable as it 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 carrying Italian peacekeepers serving with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is headquartered at Naqoura in southern Lebanon.

The UN said it is still receiving details about the attack, but it is clear that a number of peacekeepers have been wounded.

Speaking in Deauville, 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 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.