Lebanon

 

††††††††††† Statement by the President of the Security Council, Ambassador James B. Cunningham, Acting United States ††††††††††† Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on UNIFIL, at the Security Council Stake-Out,

†††††

††††††††††† ††††† Ambassador Cunningham: Good morning -- itís just past morning. Let me draw on some elements that will

††††† describe where we went in our discussion this morning on UNIFIL and then Iíll try to answer any questions you

††††† have.

 

††††† Members of the Council were briefed by the Secretariat on the interim report by the Secretary General on

††††† UNIFIL. Members are disturbed by the reports of land, sea and air violations and serious breaches of the

††††† withdrawal line -- which is known in the parlance as the "Blue Line."

 

††††† Members reiterated their call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to respect the Blue Line and to fulfill

††††† the commitments they have given to the Security Council fully to respect the withdrawal line identified by the

††††† United Nations and endorsed by the Security Council, most recently in Council Resolution 1337.

 

††††† Council members recalled their June 18, 2000 decision to endorse the Secretary Generalís conclusion that Israel

††††† had fully withdrawn all of its forces from Lebanon in fulfillment of Council Resolution 425.

 

††††† Council members were also deeply concerned by assertions that the Blue Line is not valid in the Sheíba farms

††††† area. This area is governed by UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which are applicable to the

††††† occupied Syrian Golan.

 

††††† Members of the Council commended UNIFIL, the Secretary General and his Personal Representative in

††††† Lebanon for their efforts to restore peace and security in the region. Council members understood the concerns of

††††† the government of Lebanon to avoid sudden changes to UNIFIL that might upset regional security. There was

††††† general support for the Secretary Generalís intention, taking the government of Lebanon concerns into account, to

††††† carry out a gradual, phased and prudent reconfiguration of UNIFIL, in light of circumstances on the ground, and

††††† the need for UNIFIL to carry out its mandate and to monitor the Blue Line more effectively.

 

††††† The Council will keep this process under review and take further steps as necessary until peace is restored.

 

††††† As Council President, that encapsulates our discussion on UNIFIL. The next step on UNIFIL will be to renew

††††† the mandate in July.

 

††††† [Ambassador Cunningham then answered several questions from reporters in his national capacity. Those

††††† remarks are transcribed in USUN Press Release #65(01).]

 

††††† Reporter: Back to Lebanon, Ö[inaudible question related to force numbers in the Secretary Generalís report on

††††† UNIFIL].

 

††††† Ambassador Cunningham: Well, he has proposed an approach that stretches out over the next year and a half.

††††† Weíll take specific decisions on the recommendations when we come to renew the mandate. There was a general

††††† endorsement of the intent of his proposal to carry out this gradual and phased approach but also recognition that

††††† the situation on the ground might change over time and we need to keep the two things in mind as we go forward.

 

††††† [Ambassador Cunningham answered further questions in his national capacity.]