Kardel Visits Army Bases, Urges Quick Formation of 'Consensus Govt.'

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Acting U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel on Thursday visited the 4th Land Border Regiment Command of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in Baalbek and the Army’s Air Base and Central Training Center for Border Management in Rayak, in eastern Lebanon.

“She took stock with representatives of the LAF of progress underway to strengthen border security and to extend the authority of the State along the eastern border, noting that Lebanon has made significant progress through the establishment of four Land Border Regiments all along the north-eastern border,” a statement from her office said.

“Border management is key to the extension of Government authority and the sovereignty of Lebanon over all Lebanese territories,” Kardel said.

She added: “It is clear from my visit today that the LAF is making important strides in that direction by deploying Land Border Regiments and constructing watchtowers that are used in the context of counterterrorism, anti-smuggling, and anti-trafficking operations.”

At a border watchtower in Baalbek, recently constructed with support from the United Kingdom, Kardel recognized the army’s achievements but also remaining logistic and military needs.

“I encourage the formation of a consensus government as soon as possible so that Lebanon can also fully benefit from coordinated international support to the LAF and other security agencies for Lebanon’s long-term security and stability,” she said.

The U.N. official added that one of the priorities for the new government will be to endorse the draft Integrated Border Management Strategy.

She also commended the work to date of the Rayak Central Training Facility for Border Management established in May 2018, with support from its international partners (Canada, the EU, UK, U.S.) in strengthening LAF human capacity.