Williams: It's Imperative that Lebanese Govt. Take Firm Action on Recent UNIFIL Attack
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams, voiced on Tuesday his concern over the July 26 attack against French soldiers in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, revealing that it “generated very considerable concern in France and all the troop contributing countries.”
He said after holding talks with Prime Minister Najib Miqati: “It is imperative that the Lebanese government take concrete and firm action on this.”
“The culprits for this attack and the previous attack on the Italians on May 27 must be found and detained and tried,” he stressed.
In addition, he expressed concern to Miqati that the movement of UNIFIL convoys needs to be closely coordinated with the Lebanese army and with the Internal Security Forces to prevent any further attacks of this nature.
French UNIFIL troops were targeted in a roadside bomb near the southern town of Sidon on July 26.
A similar attack targeted an Italian troop patrol at Rmeileh in May.
The talks between Williams and the premier also addressed the former’s recent visit to New York and the discussions on the Security Council with regard to Lebanon.
Asked about Monday’s clash at Wazzani between the Lebanese and Israeli armies, Williams said: “This was a very disturbing incident.”
“The good thing is that nobody was injured it seems on either side,” he added.
“We cannot afford any incidents like this. You can go from an incident like this to war within a few hours,” he stated.
Williams revealed that he will soon be meeting with General Santi Bonfanti, the deputy force commander of UNIFIL, to find out his conclusions on the Wazzani incident and how similar events can be prevented in the future.
Furthermore, he congratulated Miqati and the Lebanese on the occasion of the month of Ramadan.
“It is a matter of some sadness that this month, the holiest of months for Muslims, finds many in the Arab world suffering at the hands of governments that do not listen to their people,” he remarked.