8037th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Middle East

Preview Language:   Six Official
SIX OFFICIAL 30-Aug-2017 00:22:37
Security Council extends mandate of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, unanimously adopting Resolution 2373 (2017) at 8037th meeting.
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The Security Council decided this afternoon to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year, authorizing it to take all necessary action to ensure that southern Lebanon was not used for hostile activities.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2373 (2017), the Council, calling for full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), commended the Force’s positive role for having helped to establish, together with the Lebanese Armed Forces, a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon.

Through the text, extending the Force until 31 August 2018, the 15-nation body welcomed the expansion of coordinated activities between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces and called for further enhancement of that cooperation. It also reiterated 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).

It went on to welcome the Government of Lebanon’s intention to deploy a model regiment and an offshore patrol vessel in UNIFIL’s area of operations, and urged further international support for the country’s Armed Forces, particularly in the areas of counter-terrorism and border protection.

Also through the resolution, the Council recalled its authorization to UNIFIL to take all necessary action to ensure that its area of operations was not utilized for hostile activities of any kind; to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties and to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment; to ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel and humanitarian workers; and — without prejudice to the Government of Lebanon’s responsibility — to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.

Anne Gueguen (France), recalling her country’s role as UNIFIL penholder, thanked Council members for a cooperative and constructive attitude during a difficult negotiation. UNIFIL provided a regional public good, she said, contrasting its efforts to the deteriorating security situation elsewhere in the Middle East. The Force could do better and do more, but no one on the Council could imagine what the environment would be like without UNIFIL. As a UNIFIL troop contributor, France was aware of the situation in southern Lebanon and it did not want to bring into question the delicate balance there.

Nikki Haley (United States) said she appreciated France’s willingness to make significant improvements to UNIFIL’s mandate. War clouds were gathering over southern Lebanon, but it was baffling that the Force’s commander did not understand the threat posed by Hizbullah which, with Iran’s support, was building up an offensive arsenal. That group was preparing for war, using years of relative quiet to rearm itself in violation of Council resolutions, she said. Describing the status quo for UNIFIL as unacceptable, she said the resolution called on the Force to step up patrols and inspections to disrupt Hizbullah’s illicit activities. It also emphasized that UNIFIL could assist the Lebanese Armed Forces to secure the border and halt the flow of weapons, and required it to report where, when and why it could not see behind roadblocks. The resolution demanded that UNIFIL step up its efforts at a moment when Hizbullah was stepping up theirs, she said, describing today’s adoption as a step forward.

Matthew Rycroft (United Kingdom) expressed his delegation’s concern over violations of resolution 1701 (2006) on both sides of the Blue Line. UNIFIL must be more confident and assertive in carrying out its mandate, he said, adding that the resolution adopted today provided the Force with the mandate it needed to do its job properly.

Vassily A. Nebenzia (Russian Federation) said the mandate extension would allow UNIFIL to continue playing its important stabilizing role. Valuing the tripartite mechanism’s work in addressing areas of concern, he said all issues on the national agenda must be resolved within a legal platform by Lebanon and without external interference.

Cheng Lie (China) said the draft’s unanimous adoption reflected the Council’s support for Lebanon. Recognizing the success of the Force, he said the Government of Lebanon’s cooperation had had a beneficial impact, with the mandate’s extension making the situation conducive to the maintenance of security and further supporting resolution 1701 (2006).

Sebastiano Cardi (Italy) said UNIFIL had contributed to maintaining calm for Lebanon and Israel. Aware of concerns of illicit weapons, he cautioned against blurring the lines of responsibilities of the Force and the Government of Lebanon. Promoting confusion in that regard stripped the Lebanese authorities of their position, he said, noting that operative paragraph 15 did not change the mandate of UNIFIL. Turning to working methods, he said the Council must give due consideration to the views of troop-contributing countries whose men and women were risking their lives on the ground. More should be done to reach working methods that could better serve the Council’s common purpose.

Elbio Rosselli (Uruguay) said that from the perspective of a troop-contributing country, efforts were made to ensure the Force had adequate resources to fulfil its mandate, which included responsibilities in a complex environment. He also supported his counterpart from Italy in his statement on the Council’s working methods.

The meeting began at 3:34 p.m. and ended at 3:55 p.m.
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