UNIFIL’s mandate renewed for another year
At the request of the Government of Lebanon, the Security Council extended UNIFIL’s mandate for another year today, with the adoption of Resolution 2650 (2022).
The new resolution reaffirms UNIFIL’s mandate under Resolution 1701 (2006) and subsequent resolutions.
Last year, in Resolution 2591 (2021), the Security Council requested UNIFIL to take “temporary and special measures” to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) with food, fuel, medicine, and logistical support. This support has been extended for a further six months in Resolution 2650.
In the resolution, the Security Council requests the LAF and the UN Secretary General set out precise benchmarks and timelines for the effective and durable deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in southern Lebanon and in the country’s territorial waters. The Council also strongly encourages the Government of Lebanon to speed up the deployment of a model LAF regiment in the area of operations. This supports a long-term goal of the mission to eventually hand over all its tasks and responsibilities to the Lebanese authorities.
In the resolution, the Security Council urges the parties to accelerate efforts to visibly mark the Blue Line in its entirety and move forward on resolving points of contention. The Blue Line, the line of withdrawal between Lebanon and Israel, remains unmarked for half of its length. This can lead to tensions when crossings, which may be inadvertent, occur.
The Council reiterates that UNIFIL does not require prior authorization or permission from anyone to undertake its mandated tasks, and that it is allowed to conduct its operations independently. It calls on the parties to guarantee UNIFIL’s freedom of movement, including by allowing announced and unannounced patrols. The Council condemns the harassment and intimidation of UNIFIL personnel, as well as the use of disinformation campaigns against peacekeepers. It further requests the mission to take measures to monitor and counter disinformation.
The Council also expresses concern in the resolution about some developments along the Blue Line. It notes the recent installation of containers that restrict peacekeepers’ access to, or ability to see, parts of the line. It also condemns the presence of unauthorized weapons controlled by armed groups in UNIFIL’s area of operations.
UNIFIL was established in 1978, and its mandate was expanded with Resolution 1701 (2006) after the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah. Its mandate is renewed on a yearly basis at the request of the Government of Lebanon. The mission is mandated to monitor the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel and support the Lebanese authorities in keeping the area south of the Litani River free of unauthorized armed personnel, weapons, or other related assets. Further, it assists the Government of Lebanon (at its request) in securing borders and other points of entry to prevent the unauthorized entry of arms or related materiel. UNIFIL currently has over 10,000 military peacekeepers from 48 troop-contributing countries, as well as about 800 civilian staff