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UNITED NATIONS
Press Release

Department of Public Information l News Coverage Service l New York

SG/T/1259
11 June 1984
SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS UNIFIL CONTINGENTS IN SOUTH LEBANON
(Received from the Spokesman for the Secretary-General.)

BEIRUT, 10 June -- Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar visited today contingents of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in south Lebanon. Flying from Beirut in UNIFIL helicopters operated by the Italian Helicopter Wing, the Secretary-General and his party arrived at 0945 local time at the headquarters of the Finnish Battalion in the village of Bourj Qallawiyah, 20 kilometres east of Tyre. He was act by the Finnish Contingent Commander, Col. J. Tenhunen. After inspecting the Finnish Guard of Honour, the Secretary-General was given a briefing. In his talks with Finnish Battalion officers, the Secretary-General-spoke of the importance of UNIFIL's contribution to the stability of the area and to the well-being of its inhabitants.

At 1030 local time, the Secretary-General landed at Qana, headquarters of the Fijian Battalion, 10 kilometres southeast of Tyre. Accompanied by the Fijian Contingent Commander, Lt-Col. J. Konrote, and the Fijian Battalion Commander, Lt-Col. M.M. Cerewale, the Secretary-General inspected the Fijian Honour Guard. After a briefing by the Battalion staff, he was given the traditional Fijian welcome ceremony for Heads of States and tribes. While in Qana, the Secretary-General visited briefly the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) project office nearby.

At 1130 local time, the Secretary-General landed at UNIFIL headquarters at Naqoura, four kilometres from the Israeli border, where he was met by the acting Governor of south Lebanon, Edmound Mashlani, senior UNIFIL civilian and military staff and representatives of the Lebanese internal security forces.

The Secretary-General's first visit in Naqoura was to the Swedish Medical Company where he was briefed on medical assistance provided to the inhabitants of the area. He toured the hospital and saw the local civilians receiving treatment.

The Secretary-General next met with UNIFIL civilian and military section chiefs. After a lunch with the staff, UNIFIL Commander Lt-Gen. William Callaghan presented the Secretary-General with the UNIFIL plaque. In response, the Secretary-General praised the work of UNIFIL and its excellent relations with the people of the area. He said he was very distressed with what he had witnessed early this morning in Beirut where "Lebanese were firing at Lebanese". He said: "We will do everything that is possible for Lebanon. We must work hard for peace and unity in this country which means so much to us in the UN. I want to emphasize the importance of unity in Lebanon for a peaceful and prosperous life for its people."

Tie Secretary-General met also with local representatives, who praised the work of UNIFIL in south Lebanon, and explained how the force is supported by the Lebanese people. They asked the Secretary-General to do everything possible to expand the area of deployment of UNIFIL and to increase the effectiveness of the Force. Representatives, who had come to Naqoura requesting to meet with the Secretary-General, delivered to him a petition signed by many Mukhtars (village leaders), asking for a United Nations decision to deploy UNIFIL in all parts of south Lebanon together with the Lebanese Army and internal security forces, *which they saw as the "only security arrangement in south Lebanon which will be acceptable to the people".

The Secretary-General's last stop in his UNIFIL visit was the Italian Helicopter Wing. At 1415 local time, the Secretary-General and the party departed for Beirut.
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