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


Security Council
 5012th Meeting (AM)
SC/8157
29 July 2004




SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS LEBANON FORCE UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2005,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1553 (2004)


The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by six months, until 31 January 2005.

Endorsing the Secretary-General’s recommendation that it renew the mandate, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1553 (2004), reiterating its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries.

It encouraged the Government of Lebanon to continue efforts to ensure the return of its effective authority throughout the south, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces.  Stressing the importance of the continued extension of such measures, the Council called upon the Government to do its utmost to ensure a calm environment throughout the south, including the Blue Line.

The Council expressed its concern over the tensions and potential for escalation, as noted in the Secretary-General’s report of 21 July 2004 (document S/2004/572), and reiterated its call on the parties to continue to fulfil their commitments to respect the withdrawal line identified by the United Nations, to exercise utmost restraint and to cooperate fully with the Organization and UNIFIL.

Condemning all acts of violence, the Council also expressed great concern about the sea, land and continuing air violations of the withdrawal line.  It urged the parties to end those violations, to refrain from any act or provocation that could further escalate tension and to abide scrupulously by the obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel.

The meeting convened at 11:20 a.m. and adjourned at 11:24 a.m.

Council Resolution

Following is the full text of Council resolution 1553 (2004):

Background

The Secretary-General’s latest report on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (documents S/2004/572 and add.1) warns of mounting tensions at the withdrawal line between Israel and Lebanon, and recommends extending the United Nations force in the area for an additional six months.

The Secretary-General cites the ongoing clashes in recommending that the mandate of the UN Interim Force be extended through January 2005, warning that "considerable risk remains that hostile acts will escalate and lead the parties into conflict".

He also appeals to all sides to rein in their forces.  "I cannot stress enough the need for the parties to abide by their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions, to respect the withdrawal line in its entirety and to exercise the utmost restraint."

Mr. Annan voices deep concern that Israel "persists in its provocative and unjustified air violations of sovereign Lebanese territory".  Hezbollah's retaliatory firing of anti-aircraft rounds across the Blue Line "is a violation that poses a direct threat to human life", he adds.

On the positive side, the report notes that the whole of southern Lebanon -- including all villages in the formerly Israeli-occupied zone down to the Blue Line -- successfully took part in municipal elections.

Hailing this development as "a clear assertion of the exercise of authority by the Government of Lebanon", the Secretary-general urges the country's authorities to "ensure the return of its effective authority throughout the south, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces, and to do its utmost to ensure calm".

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For information media - not an official record