Draft resolution would extend UNIFIL's mandate

France circulated a draft UN resolution Friday that would extend the mandate of the 13,600-strong UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon and call for a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution to last summer's war. The draft, obtained by The Associated Press, emphasizes the need for greater progress in resolving these issues and reiterates the Security Council's intention "to consider further steps to contribute to the implementation of a permanent cease-fire and a long-term solution." Earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the council to extend the mandate of the force, praising the troops for helping to establish security in southern Lebanon following last summer's war. The draft commends UNIFIL's positive role, with Lebanese troops, in helping "to establish a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon."