31 July 2002
Security Council Extends UNIFIL Mandate to 31 January 2003
NEW YORK, 30 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council, stressing the need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on all its relevant resolutions, decided this afternoon to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until 31 January 2003.
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1428 (2002), the Council condemned all acts of violence. Expressing great concern over the serious breaches, as well as the air, sea and land violations of the withdrawal line, the Council urged the parties to put an end to those violations and abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel.
In a related provision, the Council called on the parties to ensure UNIFIL is accorded full freedom of movement in the discharge of its mandate throughout its area of operation. Council members expressed support for the continued efforts of UNIFIL to maintain the ceasefire along the withdrawal line and to resolve incidents and prevent escalations.
Further by the text, the Council encouraged the Government of Lebanon to ensure a calm environment throughout the south, and commended the steps it had taken to ensure the return of its effective authority throughout that region, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces, and called on it to continue those measures.
The meeting began at 5:05 p.m., and ended at 5:07 p.m.
The following is the full text of Council resolution 1428 (2002):
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978, 1310 (2000) of 27 July 2000, 1337 (2001) of 30 January 2001, 1365 (2001) of 31 July 2001 and 1391 (2002) of 28 January 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),
"Recalling also the Secretary-General's conclusion that, as of 16 June 2000, Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with resolution 425 (1978) and met the requirements defined in the Secretary-General's report of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 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 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 July 2002 to the Secretary-General (S/2002/739),
"1. Endorses the report of the Secretary-General on UNIFIL of 12 July 2002 (S/2002/746), and in particular its recommendation to renew the mandate of UNFIL for a further period of six months;
"2. Decides to extend the present mandate of UNIFIL, as recommended by the Secretary-General, for a further period of 6 months, until 31 January 2003;
"3. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to take the necessary measures to implement the reconfiguration of UNIFIL as outlined in his recent reports in accordance with the letter of the President of Security Council of 18 May 2001, in the light of developments on the ground and in consultation with the Government of Lebanon and the troop-contributing countries;
"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 these measures;
"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. Encourages the Government of Lebanon to ensure a calm environment throughout the south;
"8. 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;
"9. 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 the UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel;
"10. 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;
"11. 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 welcomes in this regard the establishment of the International Support Group, 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;
"12. Requests the Secretary-General to continue consultations with the Government of Lebanon and other parties directly concerned on the implementation of this resolution;
"13. Requests also the Secretary-General, following appropriate consultations, including with the Government of Lebanon and the troop-contributing countries, to submit to the Council before the end of the present mandate a comprehensive report on the activities of UNIFIL, its technical reconfiguration and the tasks presently carried out by the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO);
"14. Looks forward to the early fulfilment of the mandate of UNIFIL;
"15. 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."
In his latest report on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document S/2002/746), the Secretary-General says that tensions increased in that mission's area of operation over the past six months, with an outbreak of violent incidents across the Blue Line during the first two weeks of April surpassing any activity since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000. Those events coincided with the substantial escalation of tension in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Militant activities were carried out by Hezbollah, as well as Palestinian and unidentified elements both inside and outside the Shab'a Farms area. Also, throughout most of the reporting period (from 17 January 2002 to 12 July 2002), unjustified Israeli incursions into sovereign Lebanese airspace continued on an almost daily basis, often penetrating deep into Lebanon. Those events have "underscored the fragility of the situation and demonstrated how readily tensions can escalate".
The report further states that the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed-Larsen, and the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for southern Lebanon, Staffan de Mistura, engaged in concerted diplomatic activity to de-escalate the violence, the report further states. The UNIFIL increased its patrols, and its Commander intervened personally with the parties on the ground to contain incidents. Key members of the international community were active in urging the parties to exercise restraint.
"Violations of the Blue Line, whether they entail a physical crossing of the line or skirting it, cannot be justified", the Secretary-General states. The Government of Lebanon, however, continued to maintain the position that, as long as there was no comprehensive peace with Israel, the Lebanese armed forces would not be deployed along the Blue Line. In that vacuum, Hezbollah maintained its visible presence near the line through its network of mobile and fixed positions, also continuing to extend social, medical and educational services to the local population in areas near the Blue Line.
The Secretary-General also remains concerned about the restriction of movement on UNIFIL personnel, who must be able to carry out their mandate. In the most serious incident, on 4 April, about 15 Hezbollah personnel forced an Observer Group Lebanon patrol south-west of Kafr Shuba to stop at gunpoint and assaulted the observers with rifle butts, injuring three, one seriously.
The Secretary-General informs the Council that planning for the reconfiguration of UNIFIL proceeded during the period under review. The next phase of the reduction and redeployment was commencing at the time of writing of the report, with the repatriation and non-replacement of about 135 Ukrainian troops. Owing to operational exigencies, the first planned reduction of the Fijian contingent scheduled for June was postponed till August. That technical adjustment to the schedule does not, however, otherwise affect the timetable set forth in the Secretary-General's previous report (document S/2002/55). The Force will be stabilized at a strength of 2,000 by the end of 2002.
In the light of conditions prevailing in the area, the Security Council may wish to decide to extend the mandate of UNIFIL until 31 January 2003, the Secretary-General concludes. He also appeals to Member States to pay their assessments to the mission, for currently unpaid dues to the mission amount to some $106.5 million.
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