Security Council Extends Mandate of Force in Lebanon until 31 August 2011, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1937 (2010)
Urges Work towards Permanent Ceasefire, as Envisioned in Resolution 1701 (2006)
The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year, calling strongly on all parties to respect the Blue Line, the cessation of hostilities and relevant resolutions in the wake of recent violent incidents.
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1937 (2010), the Council decided to extend UNIFIL’s mandate until 31 August 2011 without amendment, noting that in doing so it was responding to the request of the Government of Lebanon and the subsequent letter of the Secretary-General (document S/2010/430).
The Council also expressed deep concern at all violations in connection with resolution 1701 (2006), which ended open hostilities, in particular the latest “grave violation” of 3 August highlighted in the Secretary-General’s letter. In that letter, the Secretary-General said that the 3 August exchange of fire in the area of El Adeisse between the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces showed how quickly the relatively stable and secure environment in southern Lebanon that UNIFIL has helped to establish, in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces, could change.
For that reason, the Council, in its resolution this afternoon, urged the parties to fully cooperate with the 15-member body and the Secretary-General to achieve a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution, as envisioned in resolution 1701.
It urged the Government of Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay, in coordination with UNIFIL. It reaffirmed its call to make the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River a zone free of any armed personnel and weapons except for those of UNIFIL and the Lebanese national forces, welcoming the deployment of an additional Lebanese brigade and calling for a further reinforcement and enhanced coordination with UNIFIL.
Strongly deploring recent incidents involving UNIFIL peacekeepers, it also called on the parties to abide scrupulously by their obligations to respect the safety and freedom of movement of Mission personnel.
Speaking after the adoption of the text, the representative of Lebanon, Nawaf Salam, thanked all Council members for extending UNIFIL’s mandate without amendments, as per Lebanon’s request. He praised UNIFIL’s work and welcomed its cooperation with his country towards the consolidation of its southern area, expressing gratitude for the sacrifices made by peacekeepers and troop-contributors. He reiterated his country’s strong commitment to the implementation of resolution 1701 in its entirety.
Also welcoming the adoption and committing his country to the full implementation of resolution 1701, Israel’s representative Haim Waxman said that serious challenges to peace and security threatened that resolution’s full realization. Among the most serious was the military build-up of the Hizbullah terrorist organization, with Iranian and Syrian support, in flagrant violation of that text and today’s resolution. It had built a deadly arsenal south of the Litani River in the area of UNIFIL’s operation and throughout the country, he maintained. Incidents in Khirbat Silim, Tayr Filsi and Mazraat Sarda were just the “tip of the iceberg” of that larger phenomenon.
Such build-up had been made possible by the widespread weapons transfers to Lebanon that violated the arms embargo, a key issue referred to in resolution 1701 and which should be accompanied by concrete measures on the ground, he said, adding that Hizbullah increasingly impeded UNIFIL’s freedom of movement. The Mission must use the necessary and appropriate means to carry out its mandate.
While welcoming the deployment of the Lebanese Army in southern Lebanon, he maintained, however, that it must clearly differentiate itself from radical elements. He said that on 3 August Lebanese forces fired directly across the Blue Line, killing an Israeli Battalion Commander and critically wounding another senior company commander, both of whom had been standing some 140 metres south of the Blue Line, during routine Israeli work south of the Blue Line more than 90 metres within Israeli territory.
He cited preliminary findings of UNIFIL’s investigation report that found that the Lebanese Armed Forces’ opening fire, which triggered the exchange, “constitutes a serious violation of resolution 1701 and a flagrant breach of the cessation of the hostilities”. He hoped the Council would soon receive a full briefing on the matter, avowing that this type of incident must not happen again. He called on the Lebanese Forces to respect the Blue Line in its entirety. Calling the situation in southern Lebanon complex, he said UNIFIL was indispensable in promoting calm in the area, including along Israel’s northern border.
In response to that statement, Lebanon’s representative replied that Israel’s attacks in 2006 cost the life of 1,124 civilians and displace hundreds of thousands, with many still being mutilated by unexploded ordinance left over from that conflict. He cited the Secretary-General’s report in stating that Israeli warplanes continued to violate resolution 1701 almost daily, and said Israel also violated Lebanese territory on land and sea, as well as occupying Ghajar and Sheba Farms, deploying spies and making belligerent statements. He asked if this was how Israel was implementing the resolution.
Lebanon had deplored the July incidents and considered the 3 August exchange of fire a grave incident which showed the need to better mark the Blue Line, increase coordination with UNIFIL and avoid any provocation, such as the daily violations of his country’s sovereignty. He reiterated his thanks to the Council for its renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate.
The meeting, which began at 3:18 p.m., adjourned at 3:35 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1937 (2010) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978), 1559 (2004), 1680 (2006), 1701 (2006), 1773 (2007), 1832 (2008) and 1884 (2009) as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon,
“Responding to the request of the Government of Lebanon to extend the mandate of UNIFIL for a new period of one year without amendment presented in a letter from the Lebanese Foreign Minister to the Secretary-General of 20 July 2010 and welcoming the letter from the Secretary-General to its President of 11 August 2010 (S/2010/430) recommending this extension,
“Reaffirming its commitment to the full implementation of all provisions of resolution 1701 (2006), and aware of its responsibilities to help secure a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution as envisioned in the resolution,
“Calling upon all concerned parties to strengthen their efforts to implement all provisions of resolution 1701 (2006),
“Expressing deep concern at all violations in connection with resolution 1701 (2006), in particular the latest grave violation of 3 August 2010 highlighted in the Secretary-General’s letter of 11 August 2010 and looking forward to the rapid finalization of UNIFIL’s investigation with a view to preventing such incidents in the future,
“Emphasizing the importance of full compliance with the prohibition on sales and supply of arms and related materiel established by resolution 1701,
“Recalling the utmost importance that all parties concerned respect the Blue Line in its entirety and encouraging the parties to accelerate their efforts in coordination with UNIFIL to visibly mark the Blue Line,
“Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel,
“Commending the active role and dedication of the personnel of UNIFIL, notably of its Commander, and expressing its strong appreciation to Member States that contribute to UNIFIL and underlining the necessity that UNIFIL have at its disposal all necessary means and equipment to carry out its mandate,
“Recalling the request from the Government of Lebanon to deploy an international force to assist it to exercise its authority throughout the territory and reaffirming UNIFIL’s authority to take all necessary action in areas of operations of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind and to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its mandate,
“Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General to keep all peacekeeping operations, including UNIFIL, under close review and stressing the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments,
“Calling upon member States to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces as needed to enable it to perform its duties in line with resolution 1701,
“Determining that the situation in Lebanon continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,
“1. Decides to extend the present mandate of UNIFIL until 31 August 2011;
“2. Commends the positive role of UNIFIL, whose deployment together with the Lebanese Armed Forces has helped to establish a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon, welcomes the expansion of coordinated activities between UNIFIL and the Lebanese armed forces and calls on further enhancement of this cooperation;
“3. Welcomes the deployment of an additional brigade of the Lebanese armed forces on 1 August 2010 and calls on the Government of Lebanon to further increase the Lebanese Armed Forces deployed in Southern Lebanon, consistent with resolution 1701 (2006);
“4. Strongly calls upon all parties concerned to respect the cessation of hostilities, to prevent any violation of the Blue line and to respect it in its entirety and to cooperate fully with the United Nations and UNIFIL;
“5. Deplores strongly the recent incidents involving UNIFIL peacekeepers, emphasizes the importance of not impairing the ability of UNIFIL to fulfil its mandate under Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and calls on all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel and to ensure that the freedom of movement of UNIFIL is fully respected, in conformity with its mandate and its rules of engagement;
“6. Urges all parties to cooperate fully with the Security Council and the Secretary-General to make tangible progress towards a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution as envisioned in resolution 1701 (2006), and emphasizes that more work remains to be done by the parties to advance the full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006);
“7. Urges the Government of Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL, which has actively engaged Israel and Lebanon to facilitate such a withdrawal;
“8. Reaffirms its call for the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani River of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL;
“9. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by UNIFIL to implement the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take preventive and disciplinary action to ensure that such acts are properly investigated and punished in cases involving their personnel;
“10. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to report to the Council on the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), every four months, or at any time as he deems appropriate;
“11. Welcomes the conclusions of the Joint DPKO-UNIFIL Technical Review presented in the letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council dated 12 February 2010 (S/2010/86) and calls for their rapid implementation;
“12. Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008;
“13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”