The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon until 31 August 2012.
Established in 1978, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is tasked with ensuring that the area between the so-called Blue Line – separating Israel and Lebanon – and the Litani River is free of unauthorized weapons, personnel and assets.
The mission, which has more than 12,000 uniformed personnel on the ground, also cooperates with the Lebanese Armed Forces so they can fulfil their security responsibilities.
In the unanimously adopted resolution extending the mandate, the Council also commended the positive role of UNIFIL, “whose deployment together with the Lebanese Armed Forces has helped to establish a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon.”
It also condemned in the strongest terms all terrorist attacks against UNIFIL and urged all parties to “abide scrupulously” by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other UN personnel and to ensure that the freedom of movement of UNIFIL is fully respected and unimpeded.
In the most recent attack on UNIFIL, five peacekeepers were injured on 26 July in an incident that took place near Saida, also known as Sidon, 55 kilometres north of the mission’s base at Naqoura.