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UN peacekeeping chief to visit Middle East

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UN Undersecretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will start a visit to three peacekeeping missions in the Middle East amid tensions in the region, a UN spokesperson said on Friday.

Lacroix’s priorities are to express his solidarity and support for peacekeepers, troop-contributing countries, and other partners, and the communities the peacekeepers serve, said Stephanie Tremblay, associate spokesperson for the UN secretary-general.

“The visit is one that he conducts regularly. But, on this occasion, it is taking place during an extraordinarily challenging time,” she said.

Lacroix will also engage with various political and security actors to discuss the activities of the missions, Tremblay said.

Lacroix will arrive in Syria on Saturday to meet with the UN Disengagement Observer Force leadership and peacekeepers. He will also meet senior government officials in Damascus, she said.

On Tuesday, he will travel to Beirut where he will meet the Lebanese caretaker prime minister, the speaker of parliament, and other officials, to update them on the operations of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). He will then head to southern Lebanon to meet with the UNIFIL leadership and peacekeepers.

During the last leg, Lacroix will visit the UN Truce Supervision Organization headquarters in Jerusalem and meet with Israeli government and military officials, said the spokesperson.

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