The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year until 31 August 2017, as it expressed concern at limited progress made towards a permanent ceasefire, a decade after the adoption of resolution 1701 (2006), which ended a flare up of violence with Israel that year.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2305 (2016), the Council also asked the Secretary-General — in accordance with global peacekeeping best practices — to conduct by February 2017 a strategic review of the mission to help to ensure that it was appropriately configured to fulfil its mandated tasks.
By the terms of resolution 2305 (2016), the Council strongly called upon all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities, to prevent any violation of the Blue Line established between Israeli and Lebanese forces and to cooperate fully with the United Nations and UNIFIL.
It urged all parties to make tangible progress towards a permanent ceasefire and urged the Government of Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its military from northern Ghajar, in coordination with UNIFIL.
Through its text, the Council urged all parties to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel and reiterated its call for Lebanon to swiftly complete its investigation into three separate attacks on UNIFIL convoys in 2011.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 10:10 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2305 (2016) 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), 1937 (2010) and 2004 (2011), 2064 (2012), 2115 (2013), 2172 (2014) and 2236 (2015), as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statement of its President dated 22 July 2016,
“Responding to the request of the Government of Lebanon to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a period of one year without amendment presented in a letter from the Lebanese Foreign Minister to the Secretary-General of 25 July 2016 and welcoming the letter from the Secretary-General to its President of 3 August 2016 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,
“Expressing concern at the limited progress made towards the establishment of a permanent ceasefire and other key provisions of resolution 1701 (2006) 10 years after its adoption,
“Calling upon all concerned parties to strengthen their efforts, including by exploring concrete solutions with the Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General and the UNIFIL Force Commander, 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 incidents which occurred on 20 December 2015 and 4 January 2016,
“Underlining the risk that violations of the cessation of hostilities could lead to a new conflict that none of the parties or the region can afford,
“Urging all parties to make every effort to ensure that the cessation of hostilities is sustained, exercise maximum calm and restraint and refrain from any action or rhetoric that could jeopardize the cessation of hostilities or destabilize the region,
“Emphasizing to all parties 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, welcoming the continued progress in the marking of the Blue Line, and encouraging the parties to accelerate their efforts in coordination with UNIFIL, including through the tripartite mechanism, to continue working in the ongoing process to delineate and visibly mark the Blue Line in its entirety, as well as to move forward on the marking of its points of contention, as recommended by the Strategic Review,
“Condemning in the strongest terms all attempts to threaten the security and stability of Lebanon,
“Reaffirming its determination to ensure that no such acts of intimidation prevent UNIFIL from implementing its mandate in accordance with Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), and recalling the necessity for all parties to ensure that UNIFIL personnel are secure and their freedom of movement is fully respected and unimpeded,
“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 has 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 crucial role played by the Lebanese Armed Forces and security forces in extending and sustaining the authority of the Government of Lebanon, in particular in southern Lebanon, and responding to other security challenges, including the threat of terrorism, and the strong international commitment to support the Lebanese Armed Forces, which has helped strengthen the capability of the Lebanese Armed Forces to provide security for Lebanon,
“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,
“Bearing in mind the strategic priorities and recommendations identified by the Secretary-General in his letter of 12 March 2012 (S/2012/151) as a result of the Strategic Review of UNIFIL, and expressing the need for a follow-up and update,
“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 2017;
“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 continued 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‑à-vis those of the Lebanese Armed Forces, with a view to identifying Lebanese Armed Forces requirements for implementing tasks mandated in resolution 1701 (2006);
“4. Requests the Secretary-General, in accordance with global peacekeeping best practices, to conduct by February 2017 a strategic review of UNIFIL, examining the structure of its uniformed and civilian components and related resources, further requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the results of this review, in an effort to ensure that the Mission is configured most appropriately to fulfil its mandated tasks, and affirms in this regard its strong continuing commitment to the existing UNIFIL mandate;
“5. Urges further international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, in response to the capabilities development plan of the Lebanese Armed Forces, as well as in the framework of the International Support Group for Lebanon, through additional and expedited assistance in areas where the Lebanese Armed Forces are most critically in need of support, including counter-terrorism and border protection;
“6. Strongly calls upon all parties 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;
“7. Welcomes the constructive role played by the Tripartite Mechanism in facilitating coordination and in de-escalating tensions, which has helped to further stabilize the situation along the Blue Line and build trust between the parties, and expresses in this regard strong support for the efforts of UNIFIL to engage with both parties to facilitate liaison, coordination and practical arrangements on the ground and to continue to ensure that the Tripartite Mechanism enables the parties to discuss a wider range of issues;
“8. 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, welcomes the commitment of the Lebanese authorities to protect UNIFIL movements and reiterates its call for the rapid finalization of the investigation launched by Lebanon regarding the 27 May, 26 July and 9 December 2011 attacks in order to bring to justice the perpetrators of these attacks;
“9. 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 on all outstanding issues in the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1701 (2006), 1680 (2006) and 1559 (2004), and other relevant Security Council resolutions;
“10. 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;
“11. 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;
“12. 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;
“13. 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;
“14. 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;
“15. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”