The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for six months until 31 January 1999. The current mandate ends on 31 July.
By unanimously adopting resolution 1188 (1998), the Council also condemned all acts of violence committed in particular against the Force and urged the parties to put an end to them. It called on all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Force for the full implementation of its mandate.
The Council also encouraged further efficiency and savings, provided they did not effect the operational capacity of the Force.
Reiterating its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries, the Council requested 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 Council thereon.
Also this afternoon, in a statement read out on its behalf by Council President Sergey Lavrov (Russian Federation), the Council asserted 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 manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
It stressed the urgent need for full implementation of resolution 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978. By that resolution, the Council called on Israel immediately to cease its military action and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory and established UNIFIL to confirm that withdrawal and assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.
In today's statement, the Council reiterated full support for the 1989 Taif Agreement, the Lebanese peace formula worked out by Lebanese leaders to achieve national accord, 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 expressed concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon, regretted the loss of civilian life and urged all parties to exercise restraint. It noted, with deep concern, the high level of casualties which UNIFIL had suffered and paid special tribute to all those who had given their lives while serving in UNIFIL.
The Council, which was called to order at 1:34 p.m., was adjourned at 1:38 p.m.
The text of the resolution 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 16 July 1998 (S/1998/652) and taking note of the observations expressed and the commitments mentioned therein,
"Taking note of the letter dated 26 June 1998 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary- General (S/1998/584),
"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 1999;
"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
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(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;
"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.
The text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1998/23, 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 16 July 1998 (S/1998/652) submitted in conformity with resolution 1151 (1998) of 30 January 1998.
"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 against 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.
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"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 recommending that the Council agree to the request of the Government of Lebanon for a six-month extension of the UNIFIL mandate, the Secretary- General states in his report (document S/1998/652) that he visited UNIFIL headquarters on his recent trip to the Middle East. It reinforced his view that although UNIFIL has been prevented from implementing its mandate, the Force's contribution to the stability and the protection it provides to the population of the area remain important.
The Secretary-General draws attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force. At present, unpaid assessments amount to $103.5 million. He appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.
The Secretary-General reports that during the past six months, fighting in southern Lebanon continued and civilians were again put at risk, although the number of those who were killed decreased. The UNIFIL continues its efforts to limit the conflict and to protect the inhabitants from the fighting. The situation in the area, however, remains volatile and continues to give cause for serious concern. The Secretary-General is also concerned at the instances of harassment of United Nations personnel as they attempted to carry out its function.
The report states that throughout the period under review, the Force continued to provide medical care, casualty evacuation, harvest patrols, the distribution of educational materials and equipment to poorer schools and environment sanitation. In addition, water projects, equipment or services for schools and orphanages and supplies to social services and needy people were provided from resources made available by troop-contributing countries. The UNIFIL medical centres and mobile teams gave care to an average of 4,000 civilian patients a month.
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During his visit to the Middle East, the Secretary-General discussed the implementation of Council resolution 425 (1978) with the leaders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria to explore their views on the subject. He later had meetings in New York with the Prime Ministers of Israel and Lebanon and with officials of other interested countries.
By resolutions 425 (1998) of 19 March, the Council called on Israel immediately to cease its military action and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory. Also by resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), the Council established UNIFIL to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, restore international peace and security and to assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area. As at 30 June, UNIFIL comprised 4,480 troops.
On 1 April, the report continues, the Ministerial Committee for National Security of the Government of Israel adopted a decision that Israel was accepting resolution 425 (1978) so that the Israeli Defence Forces would leave Lebanon with appropriate security arrangements and called on Lebanon to begin negotiations. The Government of Lebanon noted that the Council had attached no security or political conditions to the implementation of resolution 425 (1978) and that the latter did not provide for negotiations. It stated that any negotiations between Lebanon and Israel could only be on subjects related to resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and certain other subjects in the framework of the Arab-Israeli peace process. The Government of Syria has indicated that it shares those views.
Council resolution 242 (1967) of November 1967 defined principles of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East -- withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the territories occupied in the 1967 conflict and termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. The resolution also affirmed the need to settle the refugee problem.
By resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, the Council called on the parties involved in the 1973 conflict to cease hostilities and start full implementation of resolution 242 (1967). It also decided that negotiations should start to establish a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
In his report, the Secretary-General calls attention to the problem of rents owed by the Government of Lebanon to the owners of the land and premises used by UNIFIL. Not all owners have received payment and there is continuing controversy over the lists of owners prepared by the Lebanese authorities.
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Also before the Council was a letter dated 26 June from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon in which he requests the Council to extend UNIFIL's mandate (S/1998/584). Calling for the full implementation of resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), he states that the continued deployment of UNIFIL represents the international community's commitment to the restoration of Lebanon's full sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Government of Lebanon considers it vital that UNIFIL's operational strength and capacity be maintained, at least at its current level.
He says that the Israeli occupation is marked by daily violations of Lebanese territory, airspace and territorial waters well beyond the occupied areas. The civilian population suffers attacks at the hands of the Israeli occupying forces, as well as hardships and kidnappings by the score, while hundreds more have been detained for years in the infamous detention camp of Alkhiam and in Israeli jails without due process of law, in defiance of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and related protocols.
He confirms his Government's commitment to the Middle East peace process in order to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
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