UN Security Council extends UNIFIL mandate

Council notes Hizbullah's breach of resolution 1701; Shalev hopes peace force will be strengthened.

Graziano 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Graziano 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to renew the mandate of UN peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon. The resolution, which was largely technical, extended UNIFIL's authority for another year. But it also mentioned a letter by Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, from August 6, which described a series of explosions on July 14 that revealed an active weapons cache, a violation of resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 hostilities. Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Israel's permanent representative to the UN, said in a speech Thursday that the situation in southern Lebanon remains "complex," though the July explosions "shed light upon a dangerous phenomenon that Israel has been warning about: a terrorist organization, Hizbullah, continues to deploy its assets and operates actively both north and south of the Litani River." She said the incidents presented an opportunity to strengthen UNIFIL's work. "Such increased efforts should help ensure that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River is, and I quote from resolution 1701, an 'area free of any armed personnel, assets, and weapons, other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL.'" Thursday's resolution endorsed a review of the force structure of UNIFIL that Ban plans to launch. This will include an evaluation of UNIFIL's naval task force, which the UN chief has said is "stretched to the limits" because its original 12 vessels have been reduced to seven. JPost.com staff contributed to this report