Ban requests 12-month extension to UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon

Ban requests 12-month extension to UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon

UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura (file photo)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the Security Council to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by another 12 months until the end of August next year.

In a letter to the Council's President that was made public today, Mr. Ban notes that the mission “continues to play a crucial role in ensuring peace and stability in southern Lebanon, as well as full respect for the Blue Line” along the Lebanese-Israeli border.

UNIFIL is tasked with ensuring that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River is free of unauthorized weapons, personnel and assets, and also cooperates with the Lebanese armed forces so they can fulfil their security responsibilities.

“I hope that the recent formation of a new government will contribute to an improvement of the overall security environment that would permit, in the near future, the return to southern Lebanon of units of the armed forces that have been redeployed to maintain security in other parts of the country,” Mr. Ban writes.

The Secretary-General reiterates that it is essential that the international community help the armed forces to become a more effective military organization.

As of 15 July, UNIFIL – whose mandate is currently due to expire on 31 August – had 12,284 military personnel from 27 troop-contributing countries. Additional units from Indonesia and Malaysia are slated to be deployed soon.