UNIFIL Mandate Extended for Six Months; Council Reiterates Support for Lebanese Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity

UN Chronicle, November-December 1985 | Go to article overview

UNIFIL Mandate Extended for Six Months; Council Reiterates Support for Lebanese Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity


UNIFIL mandate extended for six months; Council reiterates support for Lebanese sovereignty and territorial integrity

The Security Council on 17 October, in extending the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until 19 April 1986, reiterated its "strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries'. It also called on all parties concerned to co-operate fully with the Force for full implementation of its mandate.

Resolution 575 (1985) was adopted by a vote of 13 in favour (Australia, Burkina Faso, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, India, Madagascar, Peru, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States) to none against, with 2 abstentions (Ukrainian SSR, USSR).

The Council reiterated that UNIFIL "should fully implement its mandate as defined in resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978) and all other relevant resolutions'. The Secretary-General was asked to continue consultations with the Lebanese Government and other parties directly concerned and to report back to the Council.

The UNIFIL mandate has been extended periodically since it was set up in March 1978. Lebanon, in requesting the extension, said that despite the present circumstances in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL continued to be "an important factor in providing stability, at the very time when increased and sustained efforts' were still needed to allow the Force to fully implement its mandate.

Secretary-General's report: In his report on UNIFIL for the period 12 April to 10 October 1985 (S/17557), Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar said Israel had made it clear that for purposes of self-defence it would maintain a "security zone' north of the Israeli-Lebanese border to be manned by the "South Lebanon Army' assisted by Israel Defence Force (IDF) elements. It had been made clear to Israel that such an arrangement, being contrary to Security Council resolutions and a violation of Lebanese sovereignty, would be certain to attract increasing opposition and was likely to "give rise to a whole new round of violence in the area'. The "security zone' had already been under constant attack by Lebanese resistance groups. Those activities had given rise to counter-measures by Israel and the "South Lebanon Army'.

The level of violence in southern Lebanon had been limited to some extent, particularly because of UNIFIL's presence, the Secretary-General went on. Leaders of Amal and other Lebanese groups had generally co-operated with UNIFIL in the area evacuated by Israel. However, the current situation in Lebanon south of the Litani was not only "unsatisfactory but also dangerous'. UNIFIL was once again interposed between forces hostile to one another and was "precluded from deploying right up to the international border', in accordance with its mandate. If the Israeli presence in the "security zone' was to continue for long, violence would inevitably escalate and spread. In such an event, UNIFIL's situation would become even more difficult.

Conditions did not exist in which UNIFIL could fully perform its functions or completely fulfil its mandate, the Secretary-General reported. The situation was most likely to deteriorate rather than to improve. On the other hand, UNIFIL was an extremely important factor in "whatever peace and normality' existed in southern Lebanon. If for some reason it were to disappear, the level of violence would increase dramatically, with resistance operations giving rise to reprisals in a spiral of violence. Such a situation could well develop into a new and serious international crisis.

In recommending the mandate extension, the Secretary-General stated that that must not be understood to mean that UNIFIL would be allowed to become an "open-ended commitment' for troop-contributing countries and for the United Nations if requisite conditions for its effective operation continued to be absent. …

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