SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UN FORCE IN LEBANON UNTIL 31 JULY, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1655 (2006)

31 January 2006
SC/8625

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UN FORCE IN LEBANON UNTIL 31 JULY, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1655 (2006)

31/01/2006
Security Council
SC/8625
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5362nd Meeting (PM)

Security Council extends un force in Lebanon until 31 july,

unanimously adopting resolution 1655 (2006)

 

Calls on Lebanese Government to Fully Extend Authority in South, Welcomes

Establishment of Lebanese Armed Forces Liaison Office at UN Force Headquarters

Gravely concerned at the persistence of tensions and violence along the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel, and underlining the urgent need for the Lebanese Government to fully exert control over the use of force throughout its territory, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until 31 July and called again on the Government to fully extend and exercise its sole and effective authority throughout the south.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1655 (2006), the Council condemned all acts of violence, including the latest serious incidents across the Blue Line initiated from the Lebanese side that had resulted in deaths and injuries on both sides.

The Council expressed great concern about the serious breaches and the sea, land and air violations of the withdrawal line.  It urged the parties to put an end to those violations, to refrain from any act of provocation that could further escalate the tension and to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel, including by avoiding any course of action which endangered United Nations staff.

Also by the resolution, the Council welcomed the Government’s recent establishment of a Lebanese Armed Forces liaison office at UNIFIL headquarters, and acknowledged the firm intention of the Lebanese Government to preserve security and, to that end, to reinforce the presence of its Armed Forces in the southern region and to coordinate their activities with UNIFIL.

Nevertheless, the Council urged the Government to do more to assert its authority in the south, to exert control and monopoly over the use of force and to maintain law and order on its entire territory. It also urged the Government to prevent attacks from Lebanon across the Blue Line, including through deploying additional numbers of Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces and taking up UNIFIL’s proposals to enhance coordination and to establish a Joint Planning Cell.

The Council expressed its intention to keep UNIFIL’s mandate and structures under regular review, taking into account the prevailing situation on the ground, the activities actually performed by the Force in its area of operation, its contribution towards the remaining task of restoring international peace and security, the views of the Lebanese Government and the measures it had taken to fully extend its authority in the South, as well as the implications those measures might have, in order to adjust the force to its mission.

The meeting was called to order at 12:05 p.m. and was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.

Resolution

The complete text of resolution 1655 (2006) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, including resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978 and 1614 of 29 July 2005 as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statement of 18 June 2000 (S/PRST/2000/21),

Recalling also the letter from its President to the Secretary-General of 18 May 2001 (S/2001/500),

“Recalling further the Secretary-General’s conclusion that, as of 16 June 2000, Israel has withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with resolution 425 (1948) and met the requirements defined in the Secretary-General’s report of 22 May 2000 (S/2000/460), as well as the Secretary-General’s conclusion that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has essentially completed two of the three parts of its mandate, focusing now on the remaining task of restoring international peace and security,

Reaffirming that the Council has recognized the Blue Line as valid for the purpose of confirming Israel’s withdrawal pursuant to resolution 425 (1978) and that the Blue Line must be respected in its entirety,

Gravely concerned at the persistence of tension and violence along the Blue Line, including the hostilities initiated by Hizbollah on 21 November 2005 and those triggered by the firing of rockets from Lebanon into Israel on 27 December 2005, which demonstrated once more that the situation remains volatile and fragile and underlined yet again the urgent need for the Lebanese Government to fully extend its authority and exert control and monopoly over the use of force throughout its territory, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report of 18 January 2006 (S/2006/26), and concerned also by the continuing Israeli violations of Lebanese air space,

Recalling its resolution 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000,

Recalling also its resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000,

Recalling further the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the safety of United Nations and associated personnel adopted on 9 December 1994,

Responding to the request of the Government of Lebanon to extend the mandate of UNIFIL for a new period of six months presented in the letter from its Chargé d’affaires to the United Nations of 9 January 2006 to the Secretary-General (S/2006/15),

“1.   Endorses the report of the Secretary-General on UNIFIL of 18 January 2006 (S/2006/26);

“2.   Decides to extend the present mandate until 31 July 2006, while emphasizing the interim nature of UNIFIL and looking forward to the early fulfilment of its mandate;

“3.   Reiterates its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries and under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon;

“4.   Condemns all acts of violence, including the latest serious incidents across the Blue Line initiated from the Lebanese side that have resulted in deaths and injuries on both sides, expresses great concern about the serious breaches and the sea, land and the continuing aforementioned air violations of the withdrawal line, and urges the parties to put an end to these violations, to refrain from any act of provocation that could further escalate the tension and to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of the UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel, including by avoiding any course of action which endangers United Nations personnel;

“5.   Reiterates its call on the parties to continue to fulfil the commitments they have given to respect fully the entire withdrawal line identified by the United Nations, as set out in the Secretary-General’s report of 16 June 2000 (S/2000/590) and to exercise utmost restraint;

“6.   Reiterates its call upon the Government of Lebanon to fully extend and exercise its sole and effective authority throughout the south;

“7.   Welcomes the steps undertaken recently by the Lebanese Government to strengthen the liaison between its Armed Forces and UNIFIL, including the establishment of a Lebanese Armed Forces liaison office at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, the appointment of liaison officers to UNIFIL field battalions, and the appointment of a new government coordinator with UNIFIL, and acknowledges the firm intention of the Lebanese Government to preserve the security and, to that end, to reinforce the presence of its Armed Forces in the southern region and to coordinate their activities with UNIFIL;

“8.   Urges nevertheless the Lebanese Government to do more to assert its authority in the south, to exert control and monopoly over the use of force and to maintain law and order on its entire territory and to prevent attacks from Lebanon across the Blue Line, including through deploying additional numbers of Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces and taking up UNIFIL’s proposals to enhance coordination between those forces and UNIFIL on the ground and establishing a Joint Planning Cell, as recommended by the Secretary-General in his report;

“9.   Requests the Secretary-General to continue to work with the Lebanese Government to reinforce its authority in the south, and in particular to facilitate the early implementation of the measures contained in paragraph 8 above;

“10.  Supports the continued efforts of UNIFIL to maintain the ceasefire along the withdrawal line consistent with its remaining task, while stressing the primary responsibility of the parties in this regard and encourages the Force to focus also on assisting the Lebanese Government to assert its authority in the south;

“11.  Welcomes the continued contribution of UNIFIL to operational mine clearance, encourages further assistance in mine action by the United Nations to the Government of Lebanon in support of both the continued development of its national mine action capacity and clearance of the remaining mine/unexploded ordnances threat in the south, commends donor countries for supporting these efforts through financial and in kind contributions and encourages further international contributions, and stresses the necessity for provision to the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL any additional existing maps and minefield records;

“12.  Calls on the parties to ensure UNIFIL is accorded full freedom of movement throughout its area of operation as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report, requests UNIFIL to report any obstruction it may face in the discharge of its mandate, and reiterates its call on the parties to cooperate fully with the United Nations and UNIFIL;

“13.  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 appropriate preventive action including the conduct of pre-deployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;

“14.  Requests the Secretary-General to continue consultations with the Government of Lebanon and other parties directly concerned on the implementation of this resolution and to report thereon to the Council before the end of the present mandate as well as on the activities of UNIFIL and the tasks presently carried out by the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), and to include in the report an assessment of the progress made by the Government of Lebanon towards extending its sole and effective authority throughout the south;

“15.  Expresses its intention to keep the mandate and structures of UNIFIL under regular review, taking into account the prevailing situation on the ground, the activities actually performed by the Force in its area of operation, its contribution towards the remaining task of restoring international peace and security, the views of the Lebanese Government and the measures it has taken to fully extend its authority in the south as well as the implications these measures may have, in order to adjust the force to its mission;

“16.  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 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973.”

Background

For the Security Council’s consideration this morning of the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, it had before it the latest report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), dated 18 January, in which he recommends extended the Force’s mandate for a further six months, until 31 July 2006 (document S/2006/26).

Describing the political and security environment as still fragile, the Secretary-General points particularly to the November 2005 Hizbollah attack, which led to a heavy exchange of fire with the Israeli Defence forces (IDF).  He also warns that the rocket firing incidents by unidentified armed elements of August and December had significant potential for military escalation.  Persistent Israeli air incursions into Lebanese airspace also disrupted the fragile calm.

“The serious breaches of the ceasefire underlined yet again the urgent need for the Government of Lebanon to act and extend its full authority throughout the south down to the Blue Line”, the Secretary-General says.  He is encouraged by Lebanon’s commitment to hold perpetrators of the attacks responsible to avoid their recurrence, and he welcomes new steps for coordination between the Government and UNIFIL, however, he stresses, “more needs to be done”.

The Secretary-General welcomes the Lebanese Government’s decision to co-locate the Army Liaison Office with UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, to appoint liaison officers with the UNIFIL field battalions and to work closer with the Force in the field.  He was pleased to note the appointment of the new Government Coordinator with UNIFIL, but more needs to be done.  Planning for the deployment of additional forces in the south should start without delay.

In that regard, he encourages the Lebanese Government to take up the Force Commander’s proposal to establish a joint planning cell composed of members of the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL.  The activities and presence of the Joint Security Force could also be enhanced on the ground, even within the limits of its authorized strength of 1,000 troops.  Additionally, closer coordination between UNIFIL and the Joint Security Force patrols in the south would contribute to enhancing the role and activities of the Lebanese Armed Forces in the area.  The implications of an increased presence of the Lebanese Armed Forces in the south for UNIFIL structure and force strength will be regularly assessed.

The Secretary-General reiterates his call on the parties to abide by their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions and to exercise utmost restraint to contribute to stability in the wider region.  Member States should pay their arrears for UNIFIL, totalling $72.6 million in unpaid assessments.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.