|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6605th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Authorizes One-Year Mandate Extension for United Nations
Interim Force in Lebanon in Wake of Attacks on Peacekeepers
Accusations Traded over Full Implementation of Resolution 1701 (2006)
In the wake of attacks against the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Security Council today extended its mandate for one year, until 31 August 2012, condemning all terrorist attacks against it in the strongest terms.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2004 (2011), the 15-member body strongly called upon all parties concerned to respect the cessation of hostilities, prevent any violation of the Blue Line and cooperate fully with UNIFIL. It called for the rapid finalization of Lebanon’s investigation into the 27 May and 26 July attacks on the Force so as to bring the perpetrators to justice, and urged all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel.
Furthermore, the Council urged Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay, in coordination with UNIFIL. It called for further cooperation between the Force and the Lebanese Armed Forces, particularly in terms of adjacent patrols, and requested the Secretary-General to conduct a strategic review by year’s end to ensure UNIFIL was configured most appropriately to fulfil its mandate.
The Council urged all parties to cooperate fully with the Council in seeking tangible progress towards a permanent ceasefire and long-term solution, as envisioned in Council resolution 1701 (2006).
Israel’s representative, welcoming the adoption, stressed that more efforts were needed for full implementation of the paragraph calling on all States to respect fully the establishment, between the Blue Line and the Litani River, of an area free of armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of UNIFIL and the Lebanese Government. Accusing Lebanon of provocative acts along the Blue Line, he said a Lebanese soldier had fired on the Israel Defense Forces on 1 August, adding that the Lebanese Armed Forces had shot and killed an Israeli lieutenant on 3 August. He urged Lebanon to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
He also expressed great concern over the lack of progress in disarming and disbanding Hizbullah and other Lebanese militias, and in enforcing the arms embargo against such groups, whose growing arsenals and expanded military presence throughout Lebanon, including south of the Litani River, had put most Israeli civilians under the spectre of attack. Israel was also concerned about Hizbullah’s exploitation of Lebanese civilians as human shields in attacking Israeli civilians, and its use of “so-called civilians” to obstruct UNIFIL’s operations.
Lebanon’s representative retorted that, while some Lebanese civilians may have thrown stones across the Blue Line, Israel’s firing upon them and other unarmed civilians on Lebanese territory on 15 May had been a disproportionate use of force and, according to the Secretary-General’s report, a violation of resolution 1701 (2006). It was Israel, not Lebanon, which had constantly undermined the terms of that text, violating Lebanese air space and using allegations of arms smuggling consistently to violate Lebanese sovereignty.
According to the report, UNIFIL had neither been provided with nor found evidence of unauthorized arms or their transfer into its area of operation to date, he continued. As host country to the Force, Lebanon considered its safety and security a top priority, which was why it had started an investigation into the 27 May and 26 July attacks. Moreover, Lebanon had exercised “utmost responsibility” in dealing with the sensitive matter of territorial waters, delimiting its southern and western maritime borders more than a year ago, in accordance with its obligation under the Convention of the Law of the Sea, he said, pointing out that while Israel was not a State party to the Convention, it claimed to assert its alleged right of off-shore areas, including significant portions of Lebanese maritime zones.
He said that despite its decision in principle to withdraw from Ghajar, Israel continued to occupy the northern part of the enclave and adjacent areas, in violation of resolution 1701 (2006). He encouraged the Secretary-General to intensify diplomatic efforts to ensure Israel’s withdrawal.
The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 3:30 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2004 (2011) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978), 1559 (2004), 1680 (2006), 1701 (2006), 1773 (2007), 1832 (2008), 1884 (2009) and 1937 (2010), as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon,
“Responding to the request of the Government of Lebanon to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a new period of one year without amendment presented in a letter from the Lebanese Foreign Minister to the Secretary-General of 22 July 2011 and welcoming the letter from the Secretary-General to its President of 3 August 2011 (S/2011/488) recommending this extension,
“Reiterating its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon,
“Reaffirming its commitment to the full implementation of all provisions of resolution 1701 (2006), and aware of its responsibilities to help secure a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution as envisioned in the resolution,
“Calling upon all concerned parties to strengthen their efforts to fully implement all provisions of resolution 1701 (2006) without delay,
“Expressing deep concern at all violations in connection with resolution 1701 (2006), in particular the latest grave violations of 15 May and 1 August 2011, looking forward to the rapid finalization of UNIFIL’s investigation with a view to preventing such incidents in the future,
“Commending the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL on steps taken to prevent an escalation of violence during protests on 5 June 2011,
“Emphasizing the importance of full compliance with the prohibition on sales and supply of arms and related materiel established by resolution 1701 (2006),
“Recalling the utmost importance that all parties concerned respect the Blue Line in its entirety and encouraging the parties to accelerate their efforts in coordination with UNIFIL to visibly mark the Blue Line in its entirety,
“Condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks against UNIFIL peacekeepers on 27 May and 26 July, as well as all attempts to threaten the security and stability of Lebanon, reaffirming its determination to ensure that no such acts of intimidation will prevent UNIFIL from implementing its mandate in accordance with Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and welcoming the investigation launched by Lebanon and its commitment to bring to justice the perpetrators of these attacks, and to protect UNIFIL movements as stated by the Lebanese Higher Defence Council on 12 August 2011,
“Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel,
“Commending the active role and dedication of the personnel of UNIFIL and expressing its strong appreciation to Member States that contribute to UNIFIL and underlining the necessity that UNIFIL have at its disposal all necessary means and equipment to carry out its mandate,
“Recalling the request from the Government of Lebanon to deploy an international force to assist it to exercise its authority throughout the territory and reaffirming UNIFIL’s authority to take all necessary action in areas of operations of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind and to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its mandate,
“Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General to keep all peacekeeping operations, including UNIFIL, under close review and stressing the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments,
“Calling upon member States to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces as needed to enable it to perform its duties in line with resolution 1701 (2006),
“Determining that the situation in Lebanon continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,
“1. Decides to extend the present mandate of UNIFIL until 31 August 2012;
“2. Commends the positive role of UNIFIL, whose deployment together with the Lebanese Armed Forces has helped to establish a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon, welcomes the expansion of coordinated activities between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces, and calls for further enhancement of this cooperation;
“3. Welcomes in this regard the engagement of UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces in the strategic dialogue which aims at carrying out analysis of ground forces and maritime assets and setting a series of benchmarks reflecting the correlation between the capacities and responsibilities of UNIFIL vis-ŕ-vis those of the Lebanese Armed Forces, with a view to identifying Lebanese Armed Forces requirements for implementing tasks mandated in resolution 1701 (2006), calls for an acceleration of its pace and requests in this regard the Secretary-General to conduct, before the end of the year, a strategic review of UNIFIL in an effort to ensure, along with peacekeeping good practice, that the mission is configured most appropriately to fulfil its mandated tasks;
“4. Strongly calls upon all parties concerned to respect the cessation of hostilities, to prevent any violation of the Blue line and to respect it in its entirety and to cooperate fully with the United Nations and UNIFIL;
“5. Condemns in the strongest terms all terrorist attacks against UNIFIL and urges all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel and to ensure that the freedom of movement of UNIFIL is fully respected and unimpeded, in conformity with its mandate and its rules of engagement including by avoiding any course of action which endangers United Nations personnel, and in this regard, calls for further cooperation between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces in particular regarding coordinated and adjacent patrols, and for the rapid finalization of the investigation launched by Lebanon regarding the 27 May and 26 July attacks in order to bring to justice the perpetrators of these attacks;
“6. Urges all parties to cooperate fully with the Security Council and the Secretary-General to make tangible progress towards a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution as envisioned in resolution 1701 (2006), and emphasizes that more work remains to be done by the parties to advance the full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006);
“7. Urges the Government of Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL, which has actively engaged Israel and Lebanon to facilitate such a withdrawal;
“8. Reaffirms its call on all States to fully support and respect the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani River of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL;
“9. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by UNIFIL to implement the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take preventive and disciplinary action to ensure that such acts are properly investigated and punished in cases involving their personnel;
“10. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to report to the Council on the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), every four months, or at any time as he deems appropriate;
“11. Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008;
“12. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
* *** *For information media • not an official record