|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6183rd Meeting (AM)
Security Council Extends Mandate of Force in Lebanon until 31 August 2010,
Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1884 (2009)
The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year, until 31 August 2010, strongly calling on all concerned parties to respect the cessation of hostilities and the Blue Line and to fully cooperate with the United Nations and its Mission.
Determining that the situation in Lebanon remained a threat to international peace and security, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1884 (2009), by which it urged the parties to fully cooperate with the 15-member body and the Secretary-General to achieve a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution, as envisioned in resolution 1701 (2006).
The Council commended UNIFIL’s positive role, saying its deployment, together with that of the Lebanese Armed Forces, had helped to establish a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon. It welcomed the expansion of coordinated activities between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces and encouraged further enhancement of that cooperation.
It looked forward to receiving, as soon as possible, during the coming months, the conclusions of the review of UNIFIL’s operational capacity, including the force structure, assets and requirements, as referred to in the Secretary-General’s letter of 6 August (document S/2009/407), in an effort to ensure that the Mission’s assets and resources were configured most appropriately.
Also by the text, the Council welcomed efforts by the Interim Force 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. It asked the Secretary-General to take all necessary action in that regard and to keep it informed. Troop-contributing countries were urged to take preventive and disciplinary action to ensure that such acts were properly investigated and punished in cases involving their personnel.
Speaking after the adoption of the text, the representative of Israel, Gabriela Shalev, welcomed the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate for another year, saying that the Mission played an important role in the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006). The situation in southern Lebanon remained complex. The events in July had shed light upon a dangerous phenomenon about which Israel had been warning: Hizbullah, a terrorist organization, continued to deploy its assets and operated actively both north and south of the Litani River in blunt violation of 1701 and other relevant Council resolutions. There had been recently serious incidents in which multiple explosions had occurred in Khirbat Silim on 14 July.
The Secretary-General, in his 6 August letter to the Council, as well as in briefings by officials of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, had duly noted that the explosions had been caused by “a large quantity of weapons and ammunition” in an arms cache that was “actively maintained”, she continued. The Secretary-General had further noted the presence of individuals belonging to Hizbullah in the vicinity of Khirbat Silim, stating that the presence of unauthorized assets or weapons between the Blue Line and the Litani River constitutes a clear violation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006). The following days had witnessed further violations of the resolution with the obstruction of UNIFIL’s freedom of movement and breaches of the Blue Line by Hizbullah and its supporters. Those additional incidents were clear evidence of Hizbullah’s presence in southern Lebanon. That, along with ongoing arms supply across the penetrable Syrian-Lebanese border, constituted an increasing threat to peace and stability in the region.
In light of the July incidents, the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate was an excellent opportunity for the Security Council and the Peacekeeping Operations Department to further encourage UNIFIL to strengthen its good work, she said. Such increased efforts should help ensure that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River was an “area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons, other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL”. Israel remained committed to full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and looked forward to cooperating with the Council, the Secretary-General, the Department and UNIFIL in that regard.
The representative of Lebanon, Nawaf Salam, said that, in three years since the adoption of resolution 1701 (2006), his Government had reiterated time and again its commitment to the implementation of that text. He thanked all Council members for extending the mandate, without amendments, as per Lebanon’s request. That decision was important for Lebanon, as the victim of Israel’s aggression. He praised UNIFIL for its remarkable work, which was conducted in coordination with the Lebanese Army. Three years after the adoption of the resolution, however, it had not been fully implemented, not only because Israel continued to breach the Blue Line and Lebanon’s airspace on a daily basis, but also because that country continued to refuse to withdraw from Ghajar, and several other issues had not found a solution, even on an interim basis proposed by his Government. Israeli spy networks constituted a serious violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty. Given all those undisputable facts, there was no doubt regarding the identity of the party that obstructed implementation of resolution 1701.
He added that Israel had been launching a series of alarming threats against Lebanon. For instance, Israel’s Defence Minister had stated on 7 August that Israel had not struck at Lebanon’s infrastructure hard enough in 2006 and had emphasized that a future attack would have a more destructive effect. The events of 2006 had led to thousands of civilian casualties, and hundreds of thousands of people had been displaced. Other damage included 91 destroyed bridges and five runways, as well damage to reservoirs and pumps and a large number of schools. The bombing of oil tanks had led to the release of 15,000 tons of fuel into the sea, leading to the contamination of the coastline.
The meeting, which began at 10:14 a.m., adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1884 (2009) 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) and 1832 (2008), 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 UNIFIL for a new period of one year without amendment presented in a letter from the Lebanese Foreign Minister to the Secretary-General of 4 July 2009 and welcoming the letter from the Secretary-General to its President of 6 August 2009 (S/2009/407) recommending this extension,
“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 implement all provisions of resolution 1701 (2006),
“Expressing deep concern at all violations in connection with resolution 1701 (2006), in particular the latest serious violations highlighted in the Secretary-General’s letter of 6 August 2009 and emphasizing the importance of 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, and, to that end, encouraging further coordination between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces,
“Calling upon all parties concerned to respect the Blue Line in its entirety, including through Ghajar, and encouraging the parties to coordinate further with UNIFIL, to visibly mark the Blue Line,
“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, notably of its Commander, 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,
“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 2010;
“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, and welcomes the expansion of coordinated activities between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces and encourages further enhancement of this cooperation;
“3. Strongly calls upon all parties concerned to respect the cessation of hostilities and the Blue Line in its entirety and to cooperate fully with the United Nations and UNIFIL 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 endangers United Nations personnel and by ensuring UNIFIL is accorded full freedom of movement within its area of operation;
“4. Urges all parties to cooperate fully with the Security Council and the Secretary-General to achieve a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution as envisioned in resolution 1701 (2006), and emphasizes the need for greater progress in this regard;
“5. 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;
“6. 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;
“7. Welcomes in this regard receiving as soon as possible the conclusions of the review of the operational capacity of UNIFIL, including the force structure, assets and requirements that will be conducted, as referred to in the Secretary-General’s letter of 6 August 2009, during the coming months, in an effort to ensure, along with peacekeeping good practice, that the Mission’s assets and resources are configured most appropriately to fulfil its mandated tasks;
“8. 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, and 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003;
“9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
When the Council met, it had before it the tenth report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and a letter dated 6 August from the Secretary-General to the Council (document S/2009/407).
The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the resolution’s implementation since the previous report of 3 March 2009 (document S/2009/119). It finds that, while the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon continues to hold and while progress was made regarding the implementation of some aspects of resolution 1701 (2006) during the reporting period, progress in other areas has been slower than expected and, in some cases, non-existent. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon plays an important role, the report says, noting that the Mission’s cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces has helped to establish a new strategic environment and to restore and maintain stability in southern Lebanon. It adds that it is the responsibility of the parties to take advantage of the window of opportunity provided by the UNIFIL deployment to refocus on all outstanding issues in order to achieve a permanent ceasefire and long-term solution as envisaged in resolution 1701 (2006).
The Secretary-General had requested the Council in a letter to it on 7 August, also before the 15-member body today (document S/2009/ 407), to consider renewing UNIFIL’s mandate, the report recalls.
The Secretary-General notes that Lebanon’s Prime Minister, in a letter addressed to him on 4 July, had sought an extension of UNIFIL’s mandate for one year, without amendment. Indeed, the Secretary-General says in his letter that UNIFIL continues to play a crucial role in ensuring peace and stability in southern Lebanon, as well as full respect for the Blue Line. The Mission has provided a strong deterrent to the resumption of hostilities, he says, and it has laid a foundation on which achieving a permanent ceasefire can and must be built. “Until such time as the cessation of hostilities is solidified by a permanent ceasefire, the present calm in Lebanon will remain precarious,” he warns.
The Secretary-General provides details in his letter of incidents and violations of the Blue Line, which were promptly addressed through the liaison and coordination arrangements of UNIFIL with the parties. He notes that three years have passed since the adoption of resolution 1701 (2006), and says his reports on its implementation have reflected the fact that conditions on the ground have “significantly improved” since the deployment of the expanded UNIFIL and that much has been achieved. Nevertheless, much remains to be done. It is timely to take stock of UNIFIL’s operational capacity and conduct a more comprehensive review. Hence, in an effort to ensure continued operational effectiveness and in keeping with peacekeeping good practice, an assessment of the force structure, assets and requirements of UNIFIL will be conducted during the coming months by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UNIFIL, with an emphasis on capabilities. This review will include a comprehensive evaluation of the Maritime Task Force. The troop-contributing countries will be kept informed.
It meanwhile remains essential that the international community assist the Lebanese Armed Forces to become a more effective military organization, resourced to fulfil their many responsibilities, including the Blue Line, the Secretary-General says. UNIFIL’s long-term objective is to gradually transfer responsibilities currently carried out by the Force to the Lebanese and have their Armed Forces assume effective security control over UNIFIL’s area of operations and Lebanese territorial waters, in line with resolution 1701 (2006). The Secretary-General concludes his letter with a recommendation that the Council extend UNIFIL’s mandate for another year, until 31 August 2010.
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