The Security Council extended today the mandate of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until 31 August 2019, calling on that Government to develop a plan to increase its naval capabilities, with the goal of decreasing the Mission’s Maritime Taskforce and transitioning activities to the country’s armed forces.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2433 (2018), the Council requested the Secretary-General to present an assessment with recommendations on the matter within six months, encouraging Lebanon to deploy a model regiment and an offshore patrol vessel in UNIFIL’s area of operations as a way to advance implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and Government authority.
By other terms, the Council reaffirmed the need for effective deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in southern Lebanon and in territorial waters at an accelerated pace, recalling its request for precise timelines to be jointly and promptly elaborated by the Forces and the Secretary-General for those deployments.
Regarding UNIFIL, the Council, through the text, stressed the need to improve its management of civilian resources by fostering cooperation with the Special Coordinator for the country. It requested the Secretary-General to provide such recommendations by 31 December, urging all parties to ensure that UNIFIL’s freedom of movement and access to the Blue Line, in all its parts, is fully respected and unimpeded.
Requesting the Secretary-General and troop-contributing countries to seek to increase the number of women in UNIFIL, the Council also asked the Interim Force to enhance reporting on women’s involvement and representation in all levels of decision-making.
Following the adoption, Anne Gueguen (France) said UNIFIL’s mandate must be maintained, as it was an essential stabilizing force in the region, monitoring the cessation of hostilities and deterring violence. Describing UNIFIL as a regional public asset, she said its free movement is essential to stability in an area criss-crossed by crises, as it supports the strengthening of the Lebanese Armed Forces, whose presence is instrumental to creating the conditions for lasting stability. UNIFIL must continue to support Lebanon’s Navy as it deals with myriad challenges, she said, emphasizing the importance of the Interim Force’s neutrality.
Rodney M. Hunter (United States) said maintaining peace and stability is of paramount importance, underscoring the critical need to ensure UNIFIL’s freedom of movement and access along the Blue Line. It is unacceptable that Hizbullah continues to disregard the critical arms embargo. Highlighting the importance of language in the resolution regarding the Maritime Taskforce, he urged the international community to continue to support the strengthening and expansion of Lebanon’s Navy. UNIFIL must remain an effective mission.
Vassily A. Nebenzia (Russian Federation) said UNIFIL peacekeepers are having a stabilizing effect along the Blue Line and the Middle East as a whole. The Force should be preserved and attempts to transform it into a politicized institution avoided. Its goal should never be to replace Lebanon’s institutions, he said, stressing the need to bear in mind the wishes and priorities of the Lebanese Government.
Wu Haitao (China) said UNIFIL continued to fulfil its mandate, making an important contribution to maintaining general calm. Its mandate extension is conducive to maintaining that stability and to the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), he said, urging the international community to provide political support to UNIFIL and the necessary resources to ensure it has the capacity to perform its duties.
Karen Pierce (United Kingdom), Council president for August, spoke in her national capacity to commend UNIFIL for helping to maintain calm and stability along the Blue Line. She called on all parties to respect its mandate and the Blue Line itself, noting that, through the text, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and condemned all violations along the Blue Line. She looked forward to receiving the outcomes requested on decreasing the Maritime Taskforce and transitioning responsibilities to the Lebanese Armed Forces.
The meeting began at 3:01 p.m. and ended at 3:12 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2433 (2018) 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), 2305 (2016) and 2373 (2017), as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon and the Press statements dated 19 December 2016, 27 March 2018 and 9 August 2018,
“Welcoming the progress towards reactivation of the Lebanese State institutions and the recent holding of legislative elections, the first Parliamentary elections since 2009, and calling for the formation of a new Lebanese Government without further delay,
“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 23 July 2018 and welcoming the letter from the Secretary-General to its President of 30 July 2018 (document S/2018/750) 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) more than ten 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) as underlined by the Secretary-General in his reports, and recalling the importance of control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory,
“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), recalling the necessity for all parties to ensure that UNIFIL personnel are secure and their freedom of movement is fully respected and unimpeded, and condemning in the strongest terms the attack against UNIFIL forces on 4 August 2018 near the town of Majdal Zun, southern Lebanon,
“Expressing concerns about the visits of non-Lebanese militia leaders along the Blue Line, and reiterating the importance of the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1559 (2004) and resolution 1680 (2006), and of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords,
“Encouraging all Lebanese parties to resume discussions towards a consensus on a National Defence Strategy as set out by the President of Lebanon in his statement of 12 March 2018, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions and the Taif Agreement,
“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, as the only legitimate armed forces in Lebanon, 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, and further noting the relevance of this increased capacity in relation to their efforts to coordinate with UNIFIL in the implementation of the UNIFIL mandate,
“Recalling resolution 2378 (2017) and its request of the Secretary-General to ensure that data related to the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, including peacekeeping performance data, is used to improve analytics and the evaluation of mission operations, based on clear and well identified benchmarks, and emphasizing the need to regularly evaluate UNIFIL’s performance such that the mission retains the skills and flexibility needed to effectively carry out its mandate,
“Also recalling resolution 2242 (2015) and its request of the Secretary-General to initiate, in collaboration with Member States, a revised strategy, within existing resources, to double the number of women in military and police contingents of United Nations peacekeeping operations,
“Recognizing the need to regularly review all peacekeeping operations to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, including reviews of UNIFIL when appropriate, taking into account developments on the ground,
“Bearing in mind the strategic priorities and recommendations identified by the Secretary-General in his letter of 12 March 2012 (document S/2012/151) as a result of the Strategic Review of UNIFIL, taking note of his letter of 8 March 2017 (document S/2017/202) as a result of the most recent 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 2019;
“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 without prejudice to UNIFIL’s mandate;
“3. Affirms its strong continuing commitment to the existing UNIFIL mandate and calls for the full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006);
“4. Reiterates its call for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the principles and elements set out in paragraph 8 of resolution 1701 (2006);
“5. Reaffirms the necessity of an effective and durable deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in southern Lebanon and the territorial waters of Lebanon at an accelerated pace to fully implement the provisions of resolution 1701 (2006) and requests the Secretary-General to include in his future reports assessments of progress made in this regard and calls for renewed 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;
“6. Recalls its request for precise timelines to be jointly and promptly elaborated by the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Secretary-General, for the deployments in paragraph 5, with a view to identifying Lebanese Armed Forces progress in implementing tasks mandated in resolution 1701 (2006);
“7. Calls for the Government of Lebanon to develop a plan to increase its naval capabilities, including with appropriate support from the international community, with the goal of ultimately decreasing UNIFIL’s Maritime Taskforce and transitioning its responsibilities to the Lebanese Armed Forces, in close conjunction with the effective build-up of the capabilities of the Lebanese Navy, and requests that the Secretary-General present to the Security Council an assessment with recommendations within 6 months;
“8. Encourages the intention of the Government of Lebanon to deploy a model regiment and an offshore patrol vessel in UNIFIL’s area of operations to advance the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and the authority of the Lebanese State, recalls in this regard the joint statement issued at the end of the 15 March Rome Conference, in particular Lebanon’s concept for a new Model Regiment proposed in the context of the ongoing Strategic Dialogue between the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL, notes Lebanon’s proposed timeline for the deployment of the Model Regiment, and calls on the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL to strengthen their coordinated actions;
“9. Urges further international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces and all state security institutions, who are the only legitimate armed forces of Lebanon, 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;
“10. Condemns all violations of the Blue Line and 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;
“11. Welcomes the constructive role played by the Tripartite Mechanism in facilitating coordination and in de-escalating tensions, and recognizes the mission leadership’s active efforts, 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 continued 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;
“12. Stresses the need to improve the management of UNIFIL civilian resources, including through fostering enhanced cooperation with the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, with the goal of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the missions, and requests that the Secretary‑General provide recommendations on the matter by 31 December;
“13. Urges all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel and 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;
“14. Urges all parties to ensure that the freedom of movement of UNIFIL and UNIFIL’s access to the Blue Line in all its parts 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, condemns all attempts to restrict the freedom of movement of UNIFIL’s personnel;
“15. 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;
“16. 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;
“17. 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;
“18. Recalls paragraph 15 of resolution 1701 (2006) according to which all States shall take the necessary measures to prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using flag vessels or aircraft, the sale or supply of arms and related materiel to any entity or individual in Lebanon other than those authorized by the Government of Lebanon or UNIFIL;
“19. Acting in support of a request from the Government of Lebanon to deploy an international force to assist it to exercise its authority throughout the territory, recalls its authorization to UNIFIL to take all necessary action in areas of deployment 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, to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, and to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers and, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Lebanon, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;
“20. Commends UNIFIL’s operational changes in line with resolution 2373 (2017) and reiterates its request that the Secretary-General look at ways to enhance UNIFIL’s efforts as regards paragraph 12 of resolution 1701 (2006) and paragraph 14 of this resolution, including ways to increase UNIFIL’s visible presence, including through patrols and inspections, within its existing mandate and capabilities;
“21. Recalls the decision that UNIFIL shall assist the government of Lebanon, at its request, as set out in paragraph 14 of resolution 1701 (2006) and within its capabilities, to implement resolution 1701 (2006);
“22. 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;
“23. Welcomes the initiatives undertaken by the Secretary-General to standardize a culture of performance in UN peacekeeping, calls on him to continue his efforts to develop an integrated performance policy framework and apply it to UNIFIL, and requests the Secretary-General and the troop-contributing countries to seek to increase the number of women in UNIFIL, as well as to ensure the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of operations;
“24. Requests UNIFIL to take fully into account gender considerations as a cross-cutting issue throughout its mandate and to assist the Lebanese authorities in ensuring the full and effective participation, involvement and representation of women at all levels of decision-making, further requests enhanced reporting by UNIFIL to the Security Council on this issue;
“25. 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, and to include in his reporting a prompt and detailed breakdown of all resolution 1701 (2006) violations, prompt and detailed reports on violations of the sovereignty of Lebanon, prompt and detailed reports on the restrictions to UNIFIL’s freedom of movement, an annex on the implementation on the arms embargo, reports on specific areas where UNIFIL does not access and on the reasons behind these restrictions, potential risks to the cessation of hostilities and UNIFIL’s response, as well as reports on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2016–2017 Strategic review and on additional identified efficiencies to most appropriately fulfil its mandated tasks; requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide concrete and detailed information on the aforementioned issues to the Council, in line with changes to enhance reporting since the adoption of resolution 2373 (2017);
“26. 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 of 22 November 1967, 338 of 22 October 1973, 1515 of 19 November 2003 and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008;
“27. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”