UNIFIL Commander, General Michael Beary, said on Wednesday that all parties had affirmed their wish not to escalate the current situation, and refused to repeat the incidents of 2006.

Beary said during a meeting with South Lebanon journalists at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, "The situation in the region is calm and strategic relations between UNIFIL and the Lebanese army are balanced and well-coordinated."

"We are committed to peace and stability in South Lebanon, as well as to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701," Beary added, affirming that contacts between UNIFIL, the authorities, and inhabitants continue to ensure a cultural and civilized communication.

General Beary also welcomed the role of journalists who shine light on "the role of UNIFIL and the realistic image they've purveyed about missions of international forces in South Lebanon."

Asked whether relations with Hezbollah have gone cold, especially within the last three months, he said: "There are many challenges and tensions that we are trying to appease. All parties must cooperate in favor of peace and stability in the region."

Beary also explained that there were regular meetings between UNIFIL and the civil society in South Lebanon despite some existing tensions between the people and UNIFIL.

"We are working in this direction, and the interaction between us and the people helps us to live in harmony. Our meeting today aims to convey this message through the media that brings points of view closer together and reduces tensions."

As for demining activities, he said, "This operation is a great challenge. We are working in cooperation with the Lebanese Army's National Mine Clearance Center in order to protect children and the inhabitants of different Lebanese regions from this danger."

"UNIFIL has not obtained maps locating mines in South Lebanon, but we are always ready to help the civilians," he concluded.

Source: National News Agency