The Security Council today extended the mandate of United Nations peacekeepers in southern Lebanon until 31 August 2013, while urging all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of the world body’s staff.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body condemned “in the strongest terms” all terrorist attacks against the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and reiterated its calls for the rapid finalization of the investigation by the Government into three attacks on the mission carried out in 2011.
Established in 1978, 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. It also cooperates with the Lebanese Armed Forces so they can fulfil their security responsibilities.
In today’s resolution, the Council also strongly called on all parties concerned to respect the cessation of hostilities, prevent any violation of the Blue Line and cooperate fully with UNIFIL, the Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to make tangible progress towards a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution, as envisioned in resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah.
In addition, the Council urged Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from the northern part of the village of Ghajar without further delay, in coordination with UNIFIL.