31 January 2003
Security Council Extends Interim Force in Lebanon until 31 July, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1461 (2003)
NEW YORK, 30 January (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by a further six months, until 31 July.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1461 (2003), the Council also condemned all acts of violence, expressed great concern about the serious breaches and the air, sea and land violations of the withdrawal line, and urged the parties to put an end to those violations, and to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel.
In addition, the Council reiterated 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. It also supported 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.
The Council also commended the Lebanese Government for taking steps to ensure the return of its effective authority throughout the south, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces. It called on the Government to continue these measures and to do its utmost to ensure a calm environment throughout the south.
The meeting began at 12:27 p.m. and adjourned at 12:30 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1461 (2003) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978 and 1428 (2002) of 30 July 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"Recalling also the Secretary-General's conclusion that, as of 16 June 2000, Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with resolution 425 (1978) and met the requirements defined in the Secretary-General's report of 22 May 2000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 the 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 also its resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 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 January 2003 to the Secretary-General (S/2003/36),
"1. Endorses the report of the Secretary-General on UNIFIL of 14 January 2003 (S/2003/38), and in particular its recommendation to renew the mandate of UNIFIL for a further period of six months;
"2. Decides to extend the present mandate until 31 July 2003;
"3. Takes note of the completion of the reconfiguration of UNIFIL as outlined in paragraph 26 of the Secretary-General's report (S/2003/38) and in accordance with the letter of the President of the Security Council of 18 May 2001 (S/PRST/2000/21);
"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 to extend these measures and to do its utmost to ensure a calm environment throughout the south;
"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. 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;
"8. 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 UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel;
"9. 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;
"10. 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 encourages further international contributions, 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;
"11. Requests the Secretary-General to continue consultations with the Government of Lebanon and other parties directly concerned on the implementation of this resolution and to report thereon to
the Council before the end of the present mandate as well as on the activities of UNIFIL and the tasks presently carried out by the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO);
"12. Looks forward to the early fulfilment of the mandate of UNIFIL;
"13. 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.
The Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (document S/2003/38) covers the period from 13 July 2002 to 14 January 2003
The UNIFIL area of operation has been calm for the most part, according to the report, with a substantial reduction in the number of incidents relative to the last report. Tension, however, continues to prevail. Over recent months, this tension has been demonstrated most visibly by the unresolved Hasbani River matter, as well as the provocative cycle of Israeli air violations and Hezbollah anti-aircraft fire. The Shab'a farms area also remained a significant source of concern.
Each violation of the Blue Line and any provocation emanating from either side risks escalation of tensions and descent into confrontation, states the report. The Secretary-General once again emphasizes the need for all parties concerned to fully respect the withdrawal line identified by the United Nations, to cease all violations of the Line and to refrain from any action that could serve to destabilize the situation on the ground.
The implementation of the Secretary-General's recommendations to the Council for reconfiguration of UNIFIL was completed at the end of 2002, the report continues. At this stage, no further reduction to the current Force level of 2,000 is envisaged. UNIFIL will continue to discharge its mandate by observing, monitoring and reporting on developments in its area of operation, liaising with the parties to maintain calm.
The Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend the Mission's mandate until 31 July. He also draws attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force. At present, unpaid assessments amount to $93.9 million. Eventually, this represents money owed to the Member States contributing the troops that make up the Force. He appealed to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.
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