The Security Council this afternoon 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, particularly against the Force, and urged the parties to end them.
Through its unanimous adoption of resolution 1151 (1998), the Council reiterated its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries. It called on all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Interim Force for the full implementation of its mandate.
The Council reiterated that the Force should fully implement its mandate, as defined in all relevant resolutions and encouraged further efficiency and savings, provided that they did not affect 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 afternoon, through a statement read out by its President, Alain Dejammet (France), the Council expressed its concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon, regretted the loss of civilian life and noted with deep concern UNIFIL's high level of casualties.
The Council urged all parties to exercise restraint and again stressed the urgent need for implementation of all aspects of resolution 425 (1978). Among other things, that resolution calls on Israel to immediately cease its military action against the territorial integrity of Lebanon and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory.
Further, 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 Interim Force 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 Lebanese Government in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.
The meeting, which was called to order at 3:21 p.m., was adjourned at 3:27 p.m.
The text of resolution 1151 (1998) 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 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 20 January 1988 (S/1998/53) and taking note of the observations expressed and the commitments mentioned therein,
"Taking note of the letter dated 6 January 1988 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary- General (S/1998/7),
"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 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
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6474 3852nd Meeting (PM) 30 January 1998
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;
"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."
The full text of the statement, which will be issued as document S/1998/PRST/2, reads 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 1998 (S/1998/4/53) submitted in conformity with resolution 1122 (1997) of 29 July 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.
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6474 3852nd Meeting (PM) 30 January 1998
"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 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."
In considering the situation in Lebanon, the Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General (document S/1998/53) in which he recommends extending the mandate of UNIFIL for a further six months, until 31 July, at the request of the Government of Lebanon.
The report covers developments in UNIFIL's area of responsibility during the period from 17 July 1997 to 15 January 1998. The UNIFIL was established under Council resolution 425 (1978) with a mandate 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 there.
As in his previous report, the Secretary-General observes that UNIFIL's contribution to stability and the protection it is able to afford the population in the area remained important.
The report says the situation in southern Lebanon during the past six months remained volatile and continued to give cause for serious concern. The level of hostilities rose and the increase in civilian casualties is particularly worrisome, it adds. Thirty-four civilians were killed, as compared to nine in the previous reporting period. The Interim Force has continued its efforts to limit the conflict and to protect the inhabitants from the fighting.
The Interim Force recorded 249 operations by armed elements -- a significant increase -- against the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and its local Lebanese auxiliary, the de facto forces (DFF). The armed elements employed small arms, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, recoilless rifles, rockets and explosive devices. The IDF/DFF, in response to attacks or in operations they initiated, employed artillery, mortars, tanks, helicopter gunships, fixed-wing aircraft and explosive devices. The IDF continued its practice of conducting pre-emptive artillery bombardments, as well as long- range patrols beyond its forward positions, according to the report.
Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6474 3852nd Meeting (PM) 30 January 1998
The UNIFIL continued to extend assistance to the civilian population in the form of medical care, casualty evacuation, harvest patrols, clothes, blankets, food, engineering works and the distribution of educational material and equipment to poorer schools. In addition, it provided water projects, equipment or services for schools and orphanages, and supplies to social services and needy people from resources made available by troop-contributing countries. Its medical centres and mobile teams provided care to an average of 5,000 civilian patients per month and a field dental programme treated approximately 160 cases per month.
Once again, the Secretary-General draws attention to the serious shortfall in UNIFIL's funding -- with unpaid assessed contributions amounting to some $111 million -- and appeals to Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.
As at 31 December 1997, UNIFIL, headed by Major-General Jioji Konousi Konrote of Fiji, comprised 4,468 troops from Fiji (585), Finland (492), France (247), Ghana (649), Ireland (608), Italy (46), Nepal (596), Norway (614) and Poland (631). Since its establishment, 218 members of the Force have died: 76 as a result of firings or bomb explosions, 90 in accidents and 52 from other causes. A total of 331 have been wounded by firing or by mine or bomb explosions.
* *** *