UN Security Council extends UNIFIL’s mandate, 31 August 2011

1 Sep 2011

UN Security Council extends UNIFIL’s mandate, 31 August 2011

The United Nations Security Council, on the request of the Government of Lebanon, yesterday unanimously adopted resolution 2004 (2011) extending without amendment the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a period of one year until 31 August 2012.

UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas welcomed the decision and reaffirmed UNIFIL's commitment to the tasks mandated by the Security Council. He said: "The unanimous decision of the Security Council to extend UNIFIL's mandate without changes is a strong endorsement of the work of our peacekeepers. This attests to the satisfaction of all local and international stakeholders at our achievements on the ground in strategic partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and with the cooperation of all parties concerned."

"The Security Council has underlined once again the very important responsibilities that the parties have towards respecting the cessation of hostilities. It is of the utmost importance that all parties concerned respect the Blue Line in its entirety and in this context the Council has called on the parties to accelerate their efforts in coordination with UNIFIL to visibly mark the Blue Line in its entirety. I am happy that after a period of impasse the Blue Line marking process is again picking up and it is important now that we keep this momentum going."

"At the same time, reiterating its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon, the Council has urged all parties to make tangible progress towards a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution as envisioned in resolution 1701."

"While commending the positive role of UNIFIL and the new strategic environment that we, together with the LAF, have helped establish in southern Lebanon, the Security Council has laid down very important tasks ahead that we must focus on."

"Our cooperation and coordinated activities with LAF must be further enhanced. Related to this is our ongoing strategic dialogue with the LAF and this must be accelerated in order to realistically correlate our respective capacities and responsibilities on the ground. The Security Council has called upon member States to assist the LAF as needed to enable it to perform its duties in line with resolution 1701."

"At the same time, as requested by the Security Council, in the coming months there will be a strategic review of UNIFIL in order to ensure that the mission is configured most appropriately to fulfil its mandated tasks. In line with peacekeeping good practice, it is imperative to keep all peacekeeping operations under close review in order to ensure a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments, and hence such stocktaking is only appropriate after five years of our deployment under resolution 1701."

"The terrorist attacks against UNIFIL on 27 May and 26 July have brought to the fore the paramount importance of ensuring the safety and security of UNIFIL. The Security Council has urged 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 and unimpeded."

"Undeterred by such acts of intimidation, UNIFIL is determined to continue implementing its mandate in accordance with resolution 1701. In this endeavour, I count on our ever expanding strategic partnership with the LAF, the continued commitment of the parties to the cessation of hostilities and the strong support of the international community as enshrined once again in resolution 2004."