30 July 1999


Press Release
SC/6707



SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MISSION IN LEBANON UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2000

19990730

Resolution 1254 (1999) Adopted Unanimously

The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for six months until 31 January 2000.

Adopting Security Council resolution 1254 (1999) unanimously, it condemned all acts of violence committed against the Force, and urged the parties to put an end to them. It re-emphasized UNIFIL's terms of reference and general guidelines and called upon all parties concerned to cooperate for the full implementation of its mandate.

The Council reiterated its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries.

Also this morning, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the full sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Lebanon and 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.

In a statement by its President, Hasmy Agam (Malaysia), the Council expressed its 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 a special tribute to those who had given their lives while serving on the Force.

Reiterating its full support for the continued efforts of the Lebanese Government to consolidate peace, national unity and security in the country, the Council commended that Government's successful effort to extend its authority in the south of the country in full coordination with UNIFIL.

The meeting began at 3:49 p.m. and adjourned at 3:55 p.m.


Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6707 4028th Meeting (PM) 30 July 1999

Resolution

The text of resolution 1254 (1999) 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 21 July 1999 (S/1999/807) and taking note of the observations expressed and the commitments mentioned therein,

"Taking note of the letter dated 25 June 1999 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/1999/720),

"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 2000;

"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;

"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."

Presidential Statement

The text of the presidential statement, to be issued as S/PRST/1999/24, 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 21 July 1999 (S/1999/807) submitted in conformity with resolution 1223 (1999) of 28 January 1999.

"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 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."

Secretary-General's Report

When the Council met this afternoon it had before it the Secretary- General's report (document S/1999/807) on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in which he recommends a six-month extension of the Force's mandate until 31 January 2000. In the report, covering the period since his report of 19 January (S/1999/61), the Secretary-General states that in the past six months the situation in the area of operation remained volatile and continued to give cause for serious concern. The level of hostilities rose, resulting again in civilian casualties.

The Secretary-General observes that while UNIFIL did its best to limit the violence and protect the civilian population, its ability to do so is dependent on the parties honouring their commitments in the area of operation. He condemns the fact that UNIFIL itself was targeted, with a member of the Force killed and others injured. The international status and security of United Nations personnel must be respected, as stressed frequently by the Security Council.

Despite the escalation of hostilities, he reports positive signs, including the fact that in June, Jezzin once again came under the control of the Lebanese Government. There is new hope that the same will become possible soon for the part of Lebanon still under Israeli control. While UNIFIL continues to be prevented from implementing the mandate contained in Security Council resolution 425 (1978), its contribution to stability and the protection it affords the local population remain important.

In recommending an extension of UNIFIL's mandate, the Secretary-General again draws the Council's attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force. As at 30 June unpaid assessments amount to $108.2 million, representing money owed to the Member States contributing the troops that make up the Force. He appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.

Reporting on the situation in the area of operation, the Secretary- General states that the review period was marked by increased fighting between the armed elements resisting the Israeli occupation and the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and its local Lebanese auxiliary, the de facto forces (DDF). The hostilities reached their peak on 24 June, with Israeli air raids against civilian targets in Lebanon and rocket fire by armed elements into northern Israel.

UNIFIL recorded 359 operations by armed elements against IDF/DDF in the past six months, according to the report. They used small arms, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, recoilless rifles, rockets, artillery and explosive devices. The Force also recorded 15,000 rounds of ammunition fired by IDF/DDF in response to attacks or initiating their own, using artillery, mortars, tanks, helicopter gunships, fixed-wing aircraft and explosive devices.

In performing its tasks, UNIFIL encountered hostile reactions from both sides, the report says. Its personnel were threatened or harassed in six incidents while performing their task, and UNIFIL itself was targeted on several occasions. A July 1996 commitment by the IDF to respect a safety zone around UNIFIL positions and assurances from the Islamic Resistance that they would not operate in the vicinity of UNIFIL positions have frequently been broken by personnel of both sides. The number of firings at or close to Force positions and personnel was almost double that of the last reporting period, totalling 180 -- 111 by IDF/DDF, 56 by armed elements and 13 unattributable.

The report states that UNIFIL continued to assist the civilian population in the form of medical care, harvest patrols, water projects, equipment or services for schools and orphanages, and supplies to social services and needy people. The Force also assisted the Government of Lebanon in transporting and distributing supplies to villages in the Israel-controlled area when they faced shortages owing to restrictions imposed by IDF/DDF. UNIFIL also continued the disposal of unexploded ordnance in its area of operation. In all, 117 controlled explosions were carried out.

The report also provides details of organizational and financial matters.

* *** *