Magazine article UN Chronicle

Proposed UN Force for Lebanon Rejected in Security Council

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Proposed UN Force for Lebanon Rejected in Security Council

Article excerpt

The voting on the text (document S/16351/Reu.2), was 13 in favour (China, Egypt, France, India, Malta, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, United Kingdom, United States, Upper Volta, Zimbabwe) to 2 against (USSR, Ukrainian SSR), with no abstentions. The draft resolution was not adopted due to the negative vote of a permanent member, the USSR.

Under the French draft, the Council would have decided, in agreement with the Government of Lebanon, to constitute immediately, under the authority of the Council, a United Nations Force composed of personnel furnished by Member States other than the permanent members of the Security Council and selected, if appropriate, from contingents of the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL) in Lebanon. The said Force will take up a position in the Beirut area, in co-ordination with the Lebanese authorities concerned, as soon as all elements of the multinational force have withdrawn from Lebanese territory and territorial waters. The United Nations Force will have the mission of monitoring compliance with the cease-fire and helping to protect the civilian populations, including in the Palestinian refugee camps, and, without intervening in the internal affairs of Lebanon for the benefit of any party whatever, will thereby assist in reestablishing the peace necessary for the restoration of the territorial integrity, unity, sovereignty and independence of Lebanon.

The Council would also have requested the Secretary-General to make without delay all arrangements to enable the United Nations Observer Group Beirut (OGB) to monitor compliance with the cease-fire in the Beirut area. Member States would have been requested "to refrain from any intervention in the internal affairs of Lebanon and any action, in particular military action, that might jeopardize the re-establishment of peace and security in Lebanon, and to facilitate the task of the United Nations Force".

[UNIFIL, established by Security Council resolution 425 of 19 March 1978, is composed of units from Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Senegal and Sweden, with a total of 5,688 personnel as of April 1984. It was to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, restore peace and security and assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area. The OGB, consisting of some 50 United Nations observers, was set up under Security Council resolution 516 of 1 August 1982, which authorized the Secretary-General to deploy United Nations observers to monitor the situation in and around Beirut.]

[The multinational force was formed by France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States in 1982. The purpose, as stated by France in the Council debate, was to restore calm, to the extent possible, in Beirut and the surrounding area and also to protect the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.]

The Council held four meetings, beginning on 15 February, in response to a request for an urgent meeting "to consider the situation in the city of Beirut" contained in a letter of 14 February from France to the Council President (document S/16339). Council Members

France led off the debate by stating that the situation in the Beirut area had become particularly serious s a result of recent events "that have once again radically altered the elements of the Lebanese problem". Of even greater concern was the fate of civilians, who had been subjected to fighting and bombardment and constantly exposed to the threats and dangers of a resumption of violence and even military operations. That situation had further complicated the prospect for any political solution likely to restore stability and peace in Lebanon through national reconciliation, with respect for the independence and integrity of the entire country.

Council resolution 521 (1982) had suggested the creation of a United Nations force to assist the Lebanese Government to ensure full protection for civilians in and around Beirut, but it was clear that lengthy negotiations would have been required to reach agreement on the creation of such a force. …

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