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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Security Council
4696th Meeting (PM)
SC/7650
30 January 2003

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS INTERIM FORCE IN LEBANON

UNTIL 31 JULY, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1461 (2003)


The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by a further six months, until 31 July.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1461 (2003), the Council also condemned all acts of violence, expressed great concern about the serious breaches and the air, sea and land violations of the withdrawal line, and urged the parties to put an end to those violations, and to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel. 

In addition, the Council reiterated its call on the parties to continue to fulfil the commitments they have given to respect fully the withdrawal line identified by the United Nations.  It also supported the continued efforts of UNIFIL to maintain the ceasefire along the withdrawal line through mobile patrols and observation from fixed positions and through close contacts with the parties to correct violations, resolve incidents and prevent their escalation.

The Council also commended the Lebanese Government for taking steps to ensure the return of its effective authority throughout the south, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces.  It called on the Government to continue these measures and to do its utmost to ensure a calm environment throughout the south.

The meeting began at 12:27 p.m. and adjourned at 12:30 p.m.


Resolution

The full text of resolution 1461 (2003) reads as follows:

Background

The Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (document S/2003/38) covers the period from 13 July 2002 to 14 January 2003

The UNIFIL area of operation has been calm for the most part, according to the report, with a substantial reduction in the number of incidents relative to the last report.  Tension, however, continues to prevail.  Over recent months, this tension has been demonstrated most visibly by the unresolved Hasbani River matter, as well as the provocative cycle of Israeli air violations and Hezbollah anti-aircraft fire.  The Shab’a farms area also remained a significant source of concern.

Each violation of the Blue Line and any provocation emanating from either side risks escalation of tensions and descent into confrontation, states the report.  The Secretary-General once again emphasizes the need for all parties concerned to fully respect the withdrawal line identified by the United Nations, to cease all violations of the Line and to refrain from any action that could serve to destabilize the situation on the ground. 

The implementation of the Secretary-General's recommendations to the Council for reconfiguration of UNIFIL was completed at the end of 2002, the report continues.  At this stage, no further reduction to the current Force level of 2,000 is envisaged.  UNIFIL will continue to discharge its mandate by observing, monitoring and reporting on developments in its area of operation, liaising with the parties to maintain calm. 

The Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend the Mission’s mandate until 31 July.  He also draws attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force.  At present, unpaid assessments amount to $93.9 million.  Eventually, this represents money owed to the Member States contributing the troops that make up the Force.  He appealed to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.  

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