UN Security Council unanimously renews UNIFIL mandate

Diplomat says Hizbullah’s military build-up in region has been force's most serious challenge.

UNIFIL soldier311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
UNIFIL soldier311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
NEW YORK – The Security Council unanimously voted to renew the mandate of UNIFIL Monday for one year, as an Israeli diplomat called UNIFIL’s work “seriously challenged” by both Hizbullah and recent actions of the Lebanese army.
Speaking to the Security Council after it voted to approve resolution 1937 extending UNIFIL’s mandate,  Haim Waxman, the deputy permanent representative of the Israeli mission to the United Nations, said Hizbullah’s military build-up in the region has been UNIFIL’s most serious challenge.
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“With Iranian and Syrian support through arms, training, and financing –– all of which is a flagrant violation of resolution 1701 and today’s resolution –– Hizbullah builds a deadly arsenal throughout Lebanon, including south of the Litani River and in the area of UNIFIL’s operation,” Waxman told the Council.
Hizbullah’s military build-up, he said, comes as a direct result of weapon transfers which constitute violations of the arms embargo under resolution 1701. Simultaneously, Waxman said, UNIFIL movement  is increasingly impeded by Hizbullah.
"Hizbullah’s deadly rearmament endangers Lebanon itself and the wider Middle East as Hizbullah deploys these weapons and builds its military infrastructure throughout the civilian villages of southern Lebanon, adjacent to schools, hospitals, houses of worships, and residential buildings,” Waxman said.
Waxman called for more efforts to create an area free of armed personnel between the Blue Line and the Litani River, saying that Lebanese armed forces “must act responsibly to ensure peace and stability” and do more to differentiate itself from Hizbullah.
Waxman cited a UNIFIL investigation report on the incident on August 3rd when during routine Israeli work south of the Blue Line, Lebanese forces fired direct fire across the Blue Line, killing one Israeli soldier and wounding another.
The Lebanese Army opening fire, “which triggered the exchange, constitutes a serious violation of resolution 1701, and a flagrant breach of the cessation of hostilities,” Waxman said.
Waxman reiterated Israel’s call upon the LAF to respect the Blue Line in its entirety.