Politics, Middle East

Lebanon will not give up inch of land: Defense minister

Elias Bou Saab makes assertion after touring Southern Lebanon near Israeli-occupied territories

Ali Abo Rezeg   | 24.04.2019
Lebanon will not give up inch of land: Defense minister


Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab on Wednesday inspected areas of Southern Lebanon near Israeli-occupied territories, after which he declared that his country would “never surrender one inch of land”.

At a press conference held shortly after his tour, Bou Saab asserted that Lebanon would pursue its territorial rights “through coordination with UNIFIL [the UN Interim Force in Lebanon] and the international community”.

“Operations in the region are carried out with very close coordination between our army and UNIFIL,” he said.

“It isn’t easy for Lebanon to see a non-Lebanese army entering villages [in the region],” he added.

Bou Saab went on to point out that the Lebanese army had deployed some 5,000 troops in the area.

“But nearly 10,000 are needed,” he added.

“I had wanted to visit Point B1, but couldn’t do so because the Israeli army has erected barbed wire inside Lebanese territory in violation of the Blue Line,” the defense minister said.

Point B1 is located inside the coastal Ras al-Naqoura region, where UNIFIL is headquartered.

The 120-kilometer Blue Line is a UN-sponsored border demarcation, established in 2000, between Israel and Lebanon.

On Tuesday, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri stressed Beirut’s readiness to demarcate its maritime border with Israel under UN auspices.

UNIFIL is a multinational peacekeeping force that has been deployed in Southern Lebanon since 1978. Its primary objective is to maintain security in the region and monitor a cessation-of-hostilities agreement.

Following the 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, UNIFIL was tasked with ensuring implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for a ceasefire between the warring sides and an Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon.

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