UN review says no radical change in Lebanon force

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 20, 2010 03:03
1 minute read.

 
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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that a review of the more than 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon doesn't call for radical changes to the force, its mission or its size. But in a letter to the UN Security Council circulated Friday, he emphasized that the current deployment "cannot be sustained indefinitely."

The force, known as UNIFIL, was beefed up and deployed along Lebanon's border with Israel after the Second Lebanon War in 2006 to help 15,000 Lebanese troops extend their authority into the south for the first time in decades and create a buffer zone free of Hizbullah fighters.

Ban said the review by the UN peacekeeping department and UNIFIL, requested by the council, concluded that "the mission's robust mandate and capabilities on the ground continue to play an important role in maintaining stability in southern Lebanon."

He added: "The review findings do not call for radical changes to the force, or the wider mission, and they do not significantly alter the overall number of required military and civilian personnel," he said.

As for UNIFIL's maritime task force, he said the review concluded that it remains "an essential element" in helping the Lebanese navy prevent the unauthorized entry of arms shipments and in training naval personnel.

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