The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a further six months, until 31 July, condemned all acts of violence committed against the Force and urged the parties to put an end to them. The current mandate expires on 31 January.
By resolution 1095 (1997), adopted unanimously, the Council reiterated its strong support for Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence within its internationally recognized boundaries. The Council called upon all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Force for the full implementation of its mandate.
The Council reiterated that the Force should fully implement its mandate as defined in the relevant resolutions, and encouraged further efficiency and savings, provided they did not affect its operational capacity. The Secretary-General was asked to continue consultation with the Lebanese Government and other parties directly concerned with the implementation of the present resolution.
Also this morning, through a statement read out by its President, Hisashi Owada (Japan), the Council expressed concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon and regretted the loss of civilian life. It urged all parties to exercise restraint and again stressed the urgent need for the full implementation of resolution 425 (1978) which, among other things, called on Israel to immediately cease its military action against the territorial integrity of Lebanon and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory.
Through this morning's presidential statement, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the full sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries. In that context, it asserted that all States should refrain from the threat or use of force again the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
The UNIFIL was established in March 1978 for an initial six-month period to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and assist the Lebanese Government in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.
The meeting, which was called to order at 10:09 a.m., was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
The full text of draft resolution 1095 reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978, 501 (1982) of 25 February 1982, 508 (1982) of 5 June 1982, 509 (1982) of 6 June 1982 and 520 (1982) of 17 September 1982, as well as its resolutions on the situation in Lebanon,
"Having studied the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon of 20 January 1997 (S/1997/42) and taking note of the observations expressed and the commitments mentioned therein,
"Taking note of the letter dated 17 January 1997 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary- General (S/1997/41),
"Responding to the request of the Government of Lebanon,
"1. Decides to extend the present mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon for a further period of six months, that is, until 31 July 1997;
"2. Reiterates its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries;
"3. Re-emphasizes the terms of reference and general guidelines of the Force as stated in the report of the Secretary-General of 19 March 1978 (S/12611), approved by resolution 426 (1978), and calls upon all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Force for the full implementation of its mandate;
"4. Condemns all acts of violence committed in particular against the Force, and urges the parties to put an end to them;
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"5. Reiterates that the Force should fully implement its mandate as defined in resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978) and all other relevant resolutions;
"6. Encourages further efficiency and savings provided they do not affect the operational capacity of the Force;
"7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue consultations with the Government of Lebanon and other parties directly concerned with the implementation of the present resolution and to report to the Security Council thereon."
Text of Presidential Statement The full text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as S/PRST/1997/1, is as follows:
"The Security Council has noted with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) of 20 January 1997 (S/1997/42) submitted in conformity with resolution 1068 (1996) of 30 July 1996.
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the full sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries. In this context, the Council asserts that all States shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
"As the Security Council extends the mandate of UNIFIL for a further interim period on the basis of resolution 425 (1978), the Council again stresses the urgent need for the implementation of that resolution in all its aspects. It reiterates its full support for the Taif Agreement and for the continued effort of the Lebanese Government to consolidate peace, national unity and security in the country, while successfully carrying out the reconstruction process. The Council commends the Lebanese Government for its successful effort to extend its authority in the south of the country in full coordination with UNIFIL.
"The Security Council expresses its concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon, regrets the loss of civilian life, and urges all parties to exercise restraint.
"The Security Council takes this opportunity to express its appreciation for the continuing efforts of the Secretary-General and his staff in this regard and commends UNIFIL's troops and troop-contributing countries for their sacrifices and commitment to the cause of international peace and security under difficult circumstances."
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Report of Secretary-General
When the Council met this morning to consider the situation in Lebanon, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1997/42), in which he recommends that the Council extend the mandate of UNIFIL for a further six months, until 31 July, as recently requested by the Lebanese Government. He also reviews the situation in the area during the past six months.
In making his recommendation, the Secretary-General says that, although UNIFIL was still being prevented from implementing its mandate in southern Lebanon, it continued to make an important contribution to stability and to protection of the local population. Established under Council resolution 425 (1978), UNIFIL was mandated to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the area and assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority there.
"While the level of hostilities was somewhat lower than in the past, the situation in southern Lebanon continued to be tense and volatile, as Israel maintained its occupation of parts of the area, while Lebanese groups continued their attacks against the occupying forces", the Secretary-General states. Although the parties were exercising a measure of restraint with respect to firing into populated areas, the situation remained inherently unstable, with an ever-present possibility of renewed deterioration.
The Secretary-General also calls on the parties to find a solution, as soon as possible, to the humanitarian case of a 65-year-old Palestinian who has been accommodated at UNIFIL headquarters since April 1995, after having been deported by the Israeli authorities and denied entry by the Lebanese authorities. Citing unpaid assessments for the Force amounting to some $177 million, he also appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full, and to clear all arrears.
During the past six months, the situation in UNIFIL's area of operation was somewhat calmer than in the previous mandate period, the report states. There had been a lull in hostilities from the beginning of the mandate period until Lebanese parliamentary elections in September, which were followed by a gradual increase in armed activities. In recent weeks, hostilities had risen further, causing a number of casualties.
The report says UNIFIL observed 92 operations by armed elements against the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and its local Lebanese auxiliary during the period, and received reports of more than 160 clashes north of the Litani River. The vast majority of the attacks were carried out by the Islamic Resistance, the military wing of the Shiite Muslim Hizbullah organization. The attacks involved the use of small arms, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, roadside bombs and rockets.
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The Israeli forces, for their part -- in response to attacks or in operations they initiated -- employed artillery, mortars, tanks, helicopter gunships and fixed-wing aircraft. The UNIFIL recorded more than 9,000 artillery, mortar and tank rounds fired by them during the six-month period -- significantly fewer than in previous periods. However, air raids by the IDF had increased markedly in recent weeks in response to attacks on its forces.
The report indicates that firing into populated areas had decreased markedly during the period, with both sides showing greater restraint. Nevertheless, UNIFIL recorded a total of 78 firings at or close to UNIFIL positions and personnel -- 76 by the Israeli forces and two by armed elements. Within the Israeli-controlled area, the infrastructure was improved significantly, primarily owing to aid provided by the Lebanese Government. However, the area remained economically dependent on Israel.
Throughout the period, UNIFIL continued to extend assistance to the civilian population, in the form of medical care, harvest patrols, clothes, blankets, food, engineering works and the distribution of educational material and equipment. In addition, it was also involved in water projects, and in providing equipment and services for schools, orphanages, social services and needy people, with resources made available by troop-contributing countries. As in the past, UNIFIL continued the disposal of unexploded ordnance, carrying out 116 controlled explosions.
As of January 1997, UNIFIL comprised 4,505 troops from 10 countries, the report states. It was assisted by 57 military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). In addition, the Force employed 443 civilian staff, of whom 121 were recruited internationally and 322 locally. A monthly appropriation for the Force's expenses, equivalent to $10,476,900, was appropriated by the General Assembly on 7 June 1996, subject to a decision by the Council to extend its mandate beyond 31 January 1997.
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