The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) - Photo credit UN
CAIRO – 31 August 2017: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday extended for one year the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. The resolution was unanimously adopted, and 15 members of the Security Council requested the Secretary General to look at ways of enhancing the efforts of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The members proposed increasing the mission's visible presence, through patrols and inspections, within its existing mandate and capabilities.
The council affirmed its strong continuing commitment to the existing mandate of UNIFIL, urging all parties to cooperate fully with it and its Secretary General to make tangible progress towards a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution as envisioned in resolution 1701, which helped to end the 2006 hostilities in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah.
The UNIFIL was originally established in 1978 with an initial mandate confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon and assisting the government of Lebanon to ensure the return of its effective authority in the area.
The peacekeeping mission was reinforced after the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war to oversee the cessation of hostilities. The UNIFIL tasks include monitoring the “Blue Line” area separating Israel and Lebanon and the Litani River to ensure and guarantee that it is free of unauthorized weapons, personnel and assets. The UNIFIL also cooperates with the Lebanese armed forces so they can fulfill their security responsibilities.
The U.N. peacekeeping missions were first established in 1948. Since then, more than 3,500 peacekeepers lost their lives to violent acts, accidents and disease. In June 2017, the U.N. General Assembly agreed to a significant cut in the budget for the U.N. peacekeeping missions. The assembly’s budget committee agreed to decrease the budget for 14 peacekeeping missions from $7.87bn to $7.3bn starting July 2017.