By Wassim Seifeddine
BEIRUT (AA) – Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Thursday officially requested an extension of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)’s mandate.
According to a statement issued by the presidency, Aoun made the request at a meeting with UNIFIL’S recently appointed commander, Stefano Del Col.
Comprised of 10,500 peacekeepers from 40 countries, UNIFIL was first deployed in 1978 to guarantee Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon.
At his meeting with Del Col, Aoun also expressed Lebanon's readiness to contribute to UNIFIL’s mission of maintaining security in Southern Lebanon and implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
Resolution 1701 was adopted in 2006 following a major conflict between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
“Lebanon also looks forward to UNIFIL's help in putting an end to Israel’s violations [of Lebanese territory and airspace],” Aoun said at his meeting with the UNIFIL chief.