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LEBANON: Security Council Extends U.N. Mandate, Criticizes Israeli Violations

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  • Paul
    UN WIRE 310103 http://www.unwire.org/unwire/2003/01/31/current.asp#31789 LEBANON: Security Council Extends U.N. Mandate, Criticizes Israeli Violations The U.N.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2003
      UN WIRE 310103
      http://www.unwire.org/unwire/2003/01/31/current.asp#31789

      LEBANON: Security Council Extends U.N. Mandate, Criticizes Israeli
      Violations
      The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution yesterday
      extending the mandate of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon until July 31 and
      expressed concern about repeated Israeli violations of the withdrawal line
      separating the two Middle Eastern countries, a development which it said
      risks escalating tensions in the region.

      The council called on all parties to fully respect the withdrawal line and
      the safety of U.N. personnel in the region and end all "serous breaches" of
      the air, sea and land violations of the withdrawal line by the parties. The
      council also welcomed initiatives by Lebanon to reassert its authority over
      the south of the country, where Hezbollah rebels have been clashing with
      Israeli forces for decades. The council reiterated its "strong support for
      the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon
      within its internationally recognized boundaries" (U.N. release, Jan. 30).

      The new resolution comes as Israeli planes yesterday and today staged their
      biggest mock raids over Lebanon since Israeli forces withdrew from Lebanon
      in 2000. The air raids, which included mock dive-bombing and overflights of
      Lebanese cities and Palestinian refugee camps, as well as the Bekaa Valley,
      a Hezbollah stronghold, sparked anti-aircraft fire from Lebanese forces and
      panic in the populace. UNIFIL spokesman Timur Goksel yesterday asserted that
      such raids "lead to unnecessary escalation and tension in the area" (Agence
      France-Presse, Jan. 31).

      SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS INTERIM FORCE IN LEBANON UNTIL 31 JULY,
      http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sc7650.doc.htm

      UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1461 (2003)
      The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations
      Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by a further six months, until 31 July.

      Unanimously adopting resolution 1461 (2003), the Council also condemned all
      acts of violence, expressed great concern about the serious breaches and the
      air, sea and land violations of the withdrawal line, and urged the parties
      to put an end to those violations, and to abide scrupulously by their
      obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations
      personnel.

      In addition, the Council reiterated its call on the parties to continue to
      fulfil the commitments they have given to respect fully the withdrawal line
      identified by the United Nations. It also supported the continued efforts of
      UNIFIL to maintain the ceasefire along the withdrawal line through mobile
      patrols and observation from fixed positions and through close contacts with
      the parties to correct violations, resolve incidents and prevent their
      escalation.
      The Council also commended the Lebanese Government for taking steps to
      ensure the return of its effective authority throughout the south, including
      the deployment of Lebanese armed forces. It called on the Government to
      continue these measures and to do its utmost to ensure a calm environment
      throughout the south.

      The meeting began at 12:27 p.m. and adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

      Resolution

      The full text of resolution 1461 (2003) reads as follows:

      "The Security Council,

      "Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular
      resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978 and 1428 (2002) of 30
      July 2002 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 further the letter from its President to the Secretary-General of
      18 May 2001 (S/2001/500),
      Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/7650
      4696th Meeting (PM) 30 January 2003

      "Recalling also the Secretary-General's conclusion that, as of 16 June 2000,
      Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with resolution
      425 (1978) 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) had
      essentially completed two of the three parts of its mandate, focusing now on
      the remaining task of restoring international peace and security,

      "Emphasizing the interim nature of UNIFIL,

      "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, as stated in the
      letter from its Permanent Representative to the United Nations of 9 January
      2003 to the Secretary-General (S/2003/36),

      "1. Endorses the report of the Secretary-General on UNIFIL of 14 January
      2003 (S/2003/38), and in particular its recommendation to renew the mandate
      of UNIFIL for a further period of six months;

      "2. Decides to extend the present mandate until 31 July 2003;

      "3. Takes note of the completion of the reconfiguration of UNIFIL as
      outlined in paragraph 26 of the Secretary-General's report (S/2003/38) and
      in accordance with the letter of the President of the Security Council of 18
      May 2001 (S/PRST/2000/21);

      "4. Reiterates its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty
      and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized
      boundaries;

      "5. Commends the Government of Lebanon for taking steps to ensure the return
      of its effective authority throughout the south, including the deployment of
      Lebanese armed forces, and calls on it to continue to extend these measures
      and to do its utmost to ensure a calm environment throughout the south;

      "6. Calls on the parties to ensure UNIFIL is accorded full freedom of
      movement in the discharge of its mandate throughout its area of operation as
      outlined in the Secretary-General's report;

      "7. Reiterates its call on the parties to continue to fulfil the commitments
      they have given to respect fully the withdrawal line identified by the
      United Nations, as set out in the Secretary-General's report of 16 June 2000
      (S/2000/590), to exercise utmost restraint and to cooperate fully with the
      United Nations and UNIFIL;
      Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/7650
      4696th Meeting (PM) 30 January 2003

      "8. Condemns all acts of violence, expresses great concern about the serious
      breaches and the air, sea and land violations of the withdrawal line, and
      urges the parties to put an end to these violations and to abide
      scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other
      United Nations personnel;

      "9. Supports the continued efforts of UNIFIL to maintain the ceasefire along
      the withdrawal line through mobile patrols and observation from fixed
      positions and through close contacts with the parties to correct violations,
      resolve incidents and prevent their escalation;

      "10. Welcomes the continued contribution of UNIFIL to operational demining,
      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 emergency demining activities in the
      south, commends donor countries for supporting these efforts through
      financial and in-kind contributions and encourages further international
      contributions, takes note of the communication to the Government of Lebanon
      and UNIFIL of maps and information on the location of mines and stresses the
      necessity to provide the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL with any
      additional maps and records on the location of mines;

      "11. 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);

      "12. Looks forward to the early fulfilment of the mandate of UNIFIL;

      "13. 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 resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338
      (1973) of 22 October 1973.

      Background

      The Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Interim Force in
      Lebanon (document S/2003/38) covers the period from 13 July 2002 to 14
      January 2003

      The UNIFIL area of operation has been calm for the most part, according to
      the report, with a substantial reduction in the number of incidents relative
      to the last report. Tension, however, continues to prevail. Over recent
      months, this tension has been demonstrated most visibly by the unresolved
      Hasbani River matter, as well as the provocative cycle of Israeli air
      violations and Hezbollah anti-aircraft fire. The Shab'a farms area also
      remained a significant source of concern.

      Each violation of the Blue Line and any provocation emanating from either
      side risks escalation of tensions and descent into confrontation, states the
      report. The Secretary-General once again emphasizes the need for all parties
      Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/7650
      4696th Meeting (PM) 30 January 2003
      concerned to fully respect the withdrawal line identified by the United
      Nations, to cease all violations of the Line and to refrain from any action
      that could serve to destabilize the situation on the ground.

      The implementation of the Secretary-General's recommendations to the Council
      for reconfiguration of UNIFIL was completed at the end of 2002, the report
      continues. At this stage, no further reduction to the current Force level of
      2,000 is envisaged. UNIFIL will continue to discharge its mandate by
      observing,
      monitoring and reporting on developments in its area of operation, liaising
      with the parties to maintain calm.

      The Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend the Mission's
      mandate until 31 July. He also draws attention to the serious shortfall in
      the funding of the Force. At present, unpaid assessments amount to $93.9
      million. Eventually, this represents money owed to the Member States
      contributing the troops that make up the Force. He appealed to all Member
      States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all
      remaining arrears.
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