Mr. Rizzo: “Your job is proof that dedication and professionalism result in great achievement”.

Delegation of the Defence Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies visiting UNIFIL

A delegation of the Defence Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies chaired by the President Mr. Gianluca Rizzo and accompanied by the First Councilor, Dr. Simona de Martino and by the Military Attaché of the Italian Embassy in Lebanon, Colonel Massimiliano Sforza, visited today the Headquarters of UNIFIL Mission and the Italian Contingent deployed in the south of the Country.

Major General Stefano Del Col, Head of Mission and Force Commander since last 7 August, welcomed the MEPs Gianluca Rizzo, Roberto Paolo Ferrari e Marta Antonia Fascina, after the military honors, at UNIFIL Headquarters.

During the meeting, Del Col provided a political update about the mission and different operational and training activities carried out by the Blue Helmets with the Lebanese Armed Forces and at sea with the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force. All operations take place in full respect of the UNSCR 1701. Resolution 2433 of last 30 August extends the UNIFIL mandate for a further year.

During the talks, the General illustrated the work done through the Tripartite Forum and the liaison procedures of UNIFIL, underlined the use of such tools, for the confidence building between the Parties (Lebanon and Israel) and preserving the stability in the area south of Litani River.

"In the spirit of resolution 1701 of 2006 and 2433 of 2018, we work together with Lebanese Armed Forces, in order to ensure safety of the Area of operations and of Blue Helmets operating along the Blue Line", General del Col also argued. "The common goal is to guarantee freedom of movement, stability of the area, by preventing hostile activity and illegal arms trafficking, in full respect of the UNSC mandate".

"Your job is proof that dedication and professionalism result in great achievement", those the words written by Mr. Rizzo on the Honor Roll at the end of the visit of UNIFIL Headquarters. Then the delegation of the Defence Committee visited the UN post along the Blue Line, near Ras Al Naqoura, guarded by Italian Blue Helmets of 7th Alpine Regiment. On this spot, periodically, since the end of the war of 2006 in the South of Lebanon, the Tripartite Meeting take place, between high representatives of Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), under the aegis of UNIFIL and with mediation of the Head of Mission and Force Commander.

The visit continued at the Italian base "Millevoi", where Brigadier General Paolo Fabbri, UNIFIL Sector West and "Julia" Alpine Brigade (Multinational Land Force – MLF) Commander, welcomed the delegation. "Julia" has been deployed for the first time ever as DECI (Defence Cooperative Initiative): not only soldiers from Slovenia and Hungary work together with Italian soldiers in staff cells and in manoeuvre units of "Leonte XXIV", but from Austria and Croatia, as a token of the will to build even more strong ability to operate between different nations. The delegation meet all the Blue Helmets of the Italian Contingent at the main parade ground for some words of greeting. The President addressed the soldiers thanking them and congratulating for their professionalism, pointing out that "UNIFIL mission is a flagship not only for Italian peacekeeping missions" and he said "every day with your work you prove it is possible to build a better world".

Then the Parliamentarians shared the lunch with all Italian and foreign peacekeepers, together at the mess hall. Italy is in Lebanon with about 1100 men and women. Surveillance and control of ceasefire, support to Lebanese Armed Forces in monitoring activities in the south of the Country, assistance to local population through CIMIC projects, are the tasks of Blue Helmets. The commitment of Italian soldiers in Lebanon has deep roots: Italy is part of UNIFIL mission since 1979 and has shaped its presence constantly in accordance with UN subsequent Resolutions.