UNSC extends Lebanon peacekeeping mission

The UN Security Council on Tuesday extended the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Lebanon by another six months, and urged Lebanon to deploy more troops to take full control of the south. The council resolution again noted violence along the so-called Blue Line, drawn by the United Nations to mark Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000. UN peacekeepers now numbering about 2,000 peacekeepers have been deployed in the area since 1978. The peacekeepers' mandate was set to expire at midnight. The troops are stationed near the volatile Chebaa Farms area. Lebanon and Syria say Shaba Farms is Lebanese territory, but UN cartographers who surveyed the border after the Israeli withdrawal said it belongs to that part of Syria which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The resolution, adopted unanimously, said that Lebanon needs to "do more to assert its authority in the south," an area dominated by Hezbollah. It called for more Lebanese troops and internal security forces in the region, and better coordination between those bodies and the UN peacekeeping mission.