The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a further six months, until 31 January 1998, condemned all violent acts against the Force and urged all parties to put an end to them. The current mandate expires on 31 July.
Through its unanimous adoption of resolution 1122 (1997), the Council reiterated its strong support for Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence within its internationally recognized boundaries. It 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 relevant resolutions, and encouraged further efficiency and savings, provided that they did not affect its operational capacity. The Secretary-General was asked to continue consultations 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, Peter Osvald (Sweden), 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.
Also through that 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 against 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 and to assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.
The meeting, which was called to order at 11:58 a.m., was adjourned at 12:02 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1122 (1997) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling it 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 7 June 1982 and 520 (1982) of 17 September 1982, as well as all its resolutions on the situation in Lebanon,
"Having studied the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon of 17 July 1997 (S/1997/550 and Corr.1) and taking note of the observations expressed and the commitments mentioned therein,
"Taking note of the letter dated 10 July 1997 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i of the Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/1997/534),
"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 January 1998;
"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, to be issued as document S/PRST/1997/40, 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 16 July 1997 (S/1997/550 and Corr.1) submitted in conformity with resolution 1095 (1997) of 28 January 1997.
"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 efforts 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. The Council notes with deep concern the high level of casualties which UNIFIL has suffered and pays a special tribute to all those who gave their
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life while serving in UNIFIL. It commends UNIFIL's troops and troop- contributing countries for their sacrifices and commitment to the cause of international peace and security under difficult circumstances."
Report of Secretary-General
In considering the situation in Lebanon, the Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General (documents S/1997/550 and Corr.1), in which he recommends that it extend UNIFIL's mandate for a further six months, until 31 January 1998, as requested by the Government of Lebanon. It also reviews the situation in the area during the period from 18 January to 16 July 1997.
In making his recommendation, the Secretary-General says that, although UNIFIL was still being prevented from implementing its mandate in southern Lebanon, its contribution to stability and the protection it is able to afford the population of the area remain important. The Force was established under Council resolution 425 (1978) with a mandate 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.
Drawing attention to a serious shortfall in funding for the Force -- with unpaid assessed contributions totalling some $176 million -- the Secretary- General also appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.
During the period under review, the situation in southern Lebanon remained volatile, with the level of hostilities rising somewhat and civilians again being targeted or put at risk, the report states. Hostilities increased between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and its local Lebanese auxiliary, the de facto forces (DFF), on the one hand, and armed elements who resist the Israeli occupation, on the other. The UNIFIL recorded 154 operations by armed elements against IDF/DFF, as well as reports of more than 210 operations north of the Litani River.
The vast majority of those attacks were carried out by the Islamic Resistance, the military wing of the Shiite Muslim Hizbullah organization, and a few were carried out by the Shiite movement Amal, the report states. Three attacks were attributed to Palestinian groups, although UNIFIL could not confirm that. In their attacks on IDF/DFF, armed elements used small arms, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, road-side bombs and rockets. During the review period, they fired more than 1,400 mortar rounds, rockets and anti-tank missiles.
In response to attacks, or in operations they initiated, the IDF/DFF used artillery, tanks, helicopter gunships and fixed-wing aircraft. It also increased the number of its pre-emptive artillery bombardments, usually to cover troop movements and patrols. In a new development, IDF/DFF also used
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road-side bombs outside the Israeli-controlled area (ICA). The UNIFIL recorded more than 12,000 artillery, mortar and tank rounds fired by IDF/DFF, an increase over the previous period. Firing into populated areas remained relatively low, although there were some serious incidents.
On 13 June, the General Assembly appropriated some $125 million gross for the Force for the period 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998, the Secretary- General states. That figure is based on an average strength of 4,513 troops and a continuation of UNIFIL's existing responsibilities. The assessment of the appropriation is subject to a decision by the Council to extend the Force's mandate beyond 31 July.
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