Security Council extends UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon for another year

Determining that the situation in Lebanon continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council today decided to extend the present mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year, until 31 August 2016. In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body “strongly” called upon all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities, to prevent any violation of the Blue Line and to respect it “in its entirety.” They urged further international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, in areas where they are most critically in need of support, including counter-terrorism and border protection. Recognizing that UNIFIL deployment, together with the Lebanese Armed Forces, has helped to establish a “new strategic environment” in southern Lebanon, the Security Council calls for further cooperation between them, in particular regarding coordinated and adjacent patrols. The resolution adopted today also urged all parties to abide “scrupulously” by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and to ensure that the Mission’s freedom of movement is “fully respected and unimpeded.” The Government of Israel is urged to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar “without further delay” in coordination with UNIFIL. In the resolution, the Security Council expresses “deep concern” at all violations in connection with resolution 1701, in particular the “serious disruption” of the cessation of hostilities that took place on 28 January 2015. The incident is still under investigation by UNIFIL. The peacekeeping force, which was first established in 1978, is tasked with ensuring that the area between the so-called Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon and the Litani River is free of unauthorized weapons, personnel and assets. It also cooperates with the Lebanese armed forces so they can fulfil their security responsibilities, and continues to monitor and report on ground and air violations. read more