Security Council extends mandate of UN Interim Force in Lebanon

Chief of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon

Chief of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Stefano Del Col (C) salutes the UN peacekeepers on the occasion of the United Nations Day in Naqoura, southern Lebanon, on Oct. 25, 2021.

Photo : IANS

Beirut: The Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for another year, till Aug. 31, 2023. Resolution 2650, which won the unanimous support of the 15-member Council, notes that the situation in Lebanon continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security, Xinhua news agency reported.

It commends the positive role of UNIFIL, whose deployment together with the Lebanese armed forces has helped to establish a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon, and reiterates the Security Council’s call for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution.

The resolution also stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. It urges the parties to accelerate efforts to visibly mark the Blue Line in its entirety and move forward on resolving points of contention.
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The Blue Line, the line of withdrawal between Lebanon and Israel, remains unmarked for half of its length. This can lead to tensions when crossings, which may be inadvertent, occur. The resolution notes with concern the recent installation of containers along the Blue Line which restrict UNIFIL’s access to, or visibility of the line.

It calls on the parties to guarantee UNIFIL’s freedom of movement, including by allowing announced and unannounced patrols, condemning all acts of harassment and intimidation and all attacks against UNIFIL personnel, as well as the use of disinformation campaigns against peacekeepers.

UNIFIL was first established in 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. After the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, UNIFIL’s mandate was expanded to monitor the cessation of hostilities and to accompany the deployment of Lebanese armed forces throughout southern Lebanon as Israel withdraws its troops.

According to information on UNIFIL’s official website, the mission now has around 10,500 peacekeepers coming from 48 troop-contributing countries.

(The article is authored by IANS. Only the headline has been changed.)