SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS LEBANON MANDATE UNTIL 31 JULY
By Resolution 1039 (1996), Condemns Acts of Violence;
Presidential Statement Urges Parties to Exercise Restraint
The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a further six months, until 31 July.
Through its unanimous adoption of resolution 1039 (1996), the Council restated its strong support for Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within internationally recognized boundaries, and asked the Secretary-General to continue consultations with the Government of Lebanon and other parties directly concerned.
The Council urged the parties to put an end to all acts of violence committed in particular against the Force, and called upon all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Force in the implementation of its mandate.
The Council also welcomed the streamlining of the Force, to be completed by May 1996. It stressed the need to continue efforts to achieve further savings by rationalizing the Force's administrative and support services, provided they do not affect its operational capacity.
Also this afternoon, through a statement read out by its President, Sir John Weston (United Kingdom), the Council expressed concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon, regretted the loss of civilian life, and urged all parties to exercise restraint.
Reaffirming its commitment to Lebanon's sovereignty and national unity within its internationally recognized boundaries, the Council asserted that any State shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.
The Council again stressed the urgent need for the full implementation of that resolution 425 (1978). It restated its full support for the Taif Agreement and for the continued efforts of the Lebanese Government to consolidate peace, national unity and security in the country, while successfully carrying out the reconstruction process. It also commended the
Government for its successful effort to extend its authority in the south of the country, in coordination with UNIFIL.
The meeting, which was called to order at 3:48 p.m., adjourned at 3:52 p.m.
A report of the Secretary-General on UNIFIL covers the period from 19 July 1995 (document S/1996/45). In the report he recommends that the Council extend the mandate of UNIFIL for an additional six months, until 31 July 1996.
Although there has been no progress towards implementation of its mandate, UNIFIL's contribution to stability in the area and the protection it affords to inhabitants remain important, the report states. During the past six months, the situation in southern Lebanon remained tense and volatile. Israel maintained its occupation of parts of south Lebanon, where the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and their local auxiliary continued to be targets of attack by armed elements that have proclaimed their resistance to the occupation.
Israel maintained a civil administration and security service in the area under its control, the report states. Movement between that area and the rest of Lebanon was strictly controlled and crossing points were closed frequently. During November 1995, the IDF and its local auxiliary demolished approximately 20 civilian houses in Bayt Yahum village, some with personal effects still in them. The UNIFIL protested the matter to the Israeli authorities.
During the reporting period, UNIFIL continued its efforts to limit the conflict and to protect the inhabitants. However, there were 184 instances of firing at or close to UNIFIL positions. Noting a decrease in the targeting of civilians, the Secretary-General urges the parties to continue to exercise restraint, with a view to ending the practice altogether.
The Force continued to extend humanitarian assistance to civilians in the form of medical care, essential supplies and engineering work and repairs to buildings damaged as a result of hostilities. Its battalion medical centres and mobile teams provided care to some 2,500 patients per month. It helped to distribute educational equipment provided by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It also detonated a total of 100 mines, roadside bombs and unexploded remnants in the area of deployment.
Citing a serious shortfall in the funding of the Force, the Secretary- General appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears. At present, unpaid assessments amount to some $203.5 million, representing money owed to troop-contributing States. Total unpaid assessed contributions for all peace-keeping operations as of 31 December totalled $1.7 billion.
As of January 1996, UNIFIL comprised 4,649 troops and 561 civilian staff, the report states. It was assisted in its tasks by 57 military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). The streamlining of the Force, aimed at maintaining its effectiveness while rationalizing administrative and support services, was well under way and should be completed by May.
The report also notes that, on 19 December 1995, the General Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments for the Force of up to $10,774,800 gross per month for the six-month period beginning 1 February 1996, should the Council decide to extend its mandate beyond 31 January.
The full text of resolution 1039 (1996) reads as follows:
The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1996/5, reads as follows:
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Document Type: Draft resolution, Press Release, Resolution, Security Council presidential statement, Statement
Document Sources: Department of Public Information (DPI), Security Council, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
Country: Israel, Lebanon
Subject: Middle East situation, Peacekeeping, Situation in Lebanon
Publication Date: 29/01/1996