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UNIFIL extends its mandate for another year and will continue to provide logistical support to the Lebanese army

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, September 6th 2022 à 14:25 | Read 235 times

UNIFIL will continue its mission for at least another year (photo: NNA)
UNIFIL will continue its mission for at least another year (photo: NNA)
LEBANON. It is an antiphon since its establishment. The mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was renewed for one year, Wednesday, August 31, 2022 by the UN Security Council Resolution 2650. A request made by France.

Created in March 1978 by this body to act as a buffer between Israel and Lebanon - two countries still officially at war - its mission is to "monitor the cessation of hostilities and ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations". UNIFIL is composed of some 10,600 people, including 9,800 military personnel. 324 of them have died since the beginning of the deployment. As of November 2021, the top ten troop and police contributors are Indonesia, Italy, India, Ghana, Nepal, Malaysia, Spain, France, China and Ireland.

Based in Naqoura (southern Lebanon), UNIFIL is funded by a separate UN budget approved annually by the UN General Assembly. It was $510.25 million for the period July 2021-June 2022.

"Risk of violation of the cessation of hostilities"

Unanimously, the Security Council once again acceded to the wishes of the Lebanese authorities and to the terms of a recent report by the UN Secretary General insisting on the fact that "the root causes" of the disagreement between the two countries had not "radically changed since 2006". Antonio Guterres was also concerned in this document about "the risk that violations of the cessation of hostilities could lead to a new conflict, which none of the parties in the region can afford".

In the communiqué announcing its decision, the Security Council "reiterates its call on Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the principles and elements set out in its resolution 1701 (2006)". And "strongly reaffirms the need for the effective and sustained deployment of the Lebanese Army in the south of the country and in Lebanese territorial waters at an accelerated pace, in order for the provisions of the said resolution to be implemented in full".

Condemning all violations of the Blue Line (drawn by the UN in June 2000 to confirm the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon) "committed by air or land", the Security Council "urges the parties to accelerate efforts to delineate and visibly mark the Line in its entirety. As well as to move forward in the resolution of contentious issues. After thirty years of no dialogue, talks began in October 2020 between the two belligerents a few days after the signing of a framework agreement to define their maritime borders.

Continued logistical support for the Lebanese army

The Security Council also requires the parties to guarantee UNIFIL's freedom of movement, including by allowing patrols with or without notice."  In January 2022, soldiers of the UN force were attacked in southern Lebanon by an unidentified armed group. Their vehicles were vandalized and official items were stolen. In June of the same year, another UN peacekeeper patrol was threatened and intimidated near the southern town of Arab el-Louaize by a group dressed in civilian clothes, forcing UNIFIL officials to call in the Lebanese army as backup. The attackers had tried to take weapons from the soldiers.

UNIFIL also obtained the right to continue, for six months only (until February 28, 2023 at the latest, says the text), its logistical support to the Lebanese armed forces. This extension of its mandate had been decided, during the previous renewal of the mandate, in the face of the negligence and instability of Lebanese governance. This aid consists mainly of providing equipment (non-lethal) such as fuel, food and medicine as well as logistical support. This support "should not be considered as a precedent for the future, nor as a long-term solution", insists however the UN Security Council in its new resolution.

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