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France is attempting to reduce tensions at the Lebanese border

1 min

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 on Lebanon needs to be implemented by both sides, France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said at a news conference on Monday. 

Catherine Colonna in Beirut on Monday

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 on Lebanon needs to be implemented by both sides, France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said at a news conference on Monday.  

The UN Security Council resolution 1701, which was passed at the end of the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, stated that no armed factions should be present between Lebanon's Litani River and the border.  

The resolution banned all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River and the UN-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon.    

Under the resolution, Lebanon's army is responsible for security on its side of the border in a zone from which any other armed force, including Hezbollah, is banned.

Colonna was meeting with senior officials in Beirut on Monday, a day after visiting Israel and the occupied West Bank, as part of efforts to de-escalate the situation on the border.

The situation on the border with Israel is "dangerous" with ongoing exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israel, the head of the United Nations peacekeeping force in the country warned on Monday.

"The situation now, as everybody knows, is tense. It is difficult, it is dangerous," said Aroldo Lazaro, head of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Since October 8, the day after the Israel-Hamas conflict started, the frontier between Lebanon and Israel has seen escalating cross-border fire, mainly between the Israeli army and Iran-backed Hezbollah, which says it is acting in support of Hamas.

"We are trying to continue with our liaison and coordination role... in order to avoid miscalculations, misinterpretations that could be another trigger for escalation," Lazaro told journalists ahead of a meeting in Beirut with Colonna.

Lazaro emphasized the correlation between events in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and the increase in tensions in south Lebanon.  

He added that Hezbollah was using longer-range weapons, while Israeli aircraft were violating Lebanon's air space.  

However, "during the last three days, we have seen a little bit more reduced exchanges of fire," Lazaro said.  

The UN force has itself been hit by fire in recent weeks, without causing any deaths among peacekeepers.  

UNIFIL was set up in 1978 to monitor the withdrawal of Israeli forces after they invaded Lebanon in reprisal for a Palestinian attack.  

It was bolstered after Hezbollah and Israel fought their devastating war in 2006.

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