FM Livni met with Major-General Graziano, UNIFIL commander in southern Lebanon, and discussed with him UNFIL’s performance and the situation in southern Lebanon.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni met with Major-General Claudio Graziano, force commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), to discuss UNFIL’s performance and the situation in southern Lebanon.

FM Livni opened the discussion by stating that "Even though it is not part of the UNIFIL mandate, receiving a sign of life from our abducted soldiers and their subsequent release is a primary objective that must be fully implemented". FM Livni stressed that "Continued smuggling of weapons and ammunition from Syria damages UNFIL’s ability to dismantle Hizbullah’s armaments, and will do so in the future as well if the smuggling continues.

FM Livni expressed her personal appreciation of Major-General Graziano’s performance of his duties, stating that "The population of Israel assesses UNIFIL’s conduct in southern Lebanon, and at the same time examines the actions of the international community. There is no doubt that the change in the situation in southern Lebanon and the movement of Hizbullah northwards, away from the border, is a direct response to activities carried out by UNIFIL and the Lebanese army. It is imperative that these activities continue".