The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Tuesday voiced deep concern over the escalation in the exchanges of fire across, and increasingly beyond, the Blue Line – the demarcation line separating Lebanese and Israeli armed forces.

Briefing the Security Council in a closed-door meeting, Joanna Wronecka emphasised the need to restore calm, urging compliance with international humanitarian law to protect civilians.

She highlighted the danger posed by incomplete implementation of resolution 1701 to Lebanon, Israel, and regional stability, calling for a political process addressing root causes of conflict.

“I have reminded relevant stakeholders of all parties about their obligation to comply fully with international humanitarian and human rights law, namely to protect civilians,” she said, according to a news release issued by her Office (UNSCOL)

Adopted in 2006, the resolution among other points called for the full cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah, deployment of the Lebanese armed forces in southern Lebanon and the establishment of a demilitarised zone between the Blue Line and the Litani River.

Also on Tuesday, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) marked its 46th anniversary, renewing calls for full demilitarisation and movement towards a political and diplomatic solution.

Aroldo Lázaro, the Head of Mission and Force Commander, commended the work of the more than 10,000 military peacekeepers from 49 countries including Fiji and the civilian staff.

Despite relentless and daily exchanges of fire since the Gaza war began, they have stayed their course in monitoring the fast-evolving situation in south Lebanon, assisting local communities, he said.

Lieutenant General Lázaro also paid tribute to the over 330 mission personnel who have lost their lives serving there.