Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
13 September 1985



REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE UNITED NATIONS INTERIM
FORCE IN LEBANON

(for the period of 19 March to 13 September 1973)

CONTENTS


Paragraphs
INTRODUCTION
1
I.ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE FORCE
2 - 10
A.
B.
Establishment of UNIFIL
Composition
2 - 5
6 - 10
II.DEPLOYMENT AND LOGISTICS
25
A.
B.
C.
Deployment
Accommodation of the Force
Logistic support
18
20
21 - 25
III.FUNCTIONS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE FORCE
26 - 54
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
Guidelines and terms of reference
Co-operation with UNTSO
Contacts with the parties
Activities of the Force during the initial stage
Activities of the Force following the first, second and third phases of the withdrawal of Israeli forces
Activities of UNIFIL after 13 June
Efforts to assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area
Humanitarian assistance
26 - 27
28 - 32
33 - 35
36 - 38
39 - 42
43 - 47
48 - 51
52 - 54
IV.
V.
FINANCIAL ASPECTS
OBSERVATIONS
55
56 - 68
ANNEX. Map of UNIFIL deployment as of September 1978



INTRODUCTION

1. This report, which covers the period from the inception of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on 19 March to 13 September 1978, presents a summary of developments relating to UNIFIL. Some of this information was submitted to the Security Council in my report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (S/12611) and in my progress reports on the Force (S/12620 and Add.1-5). The purpose of the report is to provide the Security Council with a comprehensive picture of the activities of UNIFIL in pursuance of the mandate laid down by the Council in its resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978.


I. ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE FORCE

A. Establishment of UNIFIL


2. Following the adoption of Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) on 19 March 1978, I appointed Major-General E. A. Erskine as Interim Force Commander. He immediately set up a temporary headquarters of the Force at Naqoura with the assistance of military observers detailed from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). Action was also taken to transfer temporarily to UNIFIL one reinforced company of the Swedish battalion from the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), one reinforced company of the Iranian battalion from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and movement control and signals detachments from the Canadian logistics unit of UNEF.

3. On 21 March, following consultations with the Security Council, I accepted the offers of the French, Nepalese and Norwegian Governments to provide contingents for the new Force. An advance party of the French contingent arrived in the mission area on 23 March and was followed shortly thereafter by other units of the three contingents.

4. In April, the Governments of Senegal and Nigeria agreed to provide one battalion each for UNIFIL. With the arrival of their contingents, the Force reached the authorized strength of 4,000 by early May.

5. On 3 May the Security Council, upon my recommendation„approved by its resolution 427 (1978) an increase of the strength of UNIFIL from 4,000 to 6,000 and, with the agreement of the Council, I accepted offers of the Governments of Fiji, Iran and Ireland to make available new battalions for service with the Force. With the arrival of those battalions and the release of the two companies detailed from UNEF and UNDOF, the strength of the Force reached a level of about 6,000 by mid-June. It has remained stationary since then.


B. Composition

6. As of 13 September 1978, the composition of the Force was as follows:

Infantry units

Fiji - 500

France - 644

Iran - 599

Ireland - 661

Nepal - 642

Nigeria - 673

Norway - 706

Senegal - 634

Logistic units

Canada - 117

France - 537

Norway - 218

Total - 5,931

7. In addition to the above, UNIFIL is assisted by 36 military observers of UNTSO.

8. Command of UNIFIL continues to be exercised by Major-General E. A. Erskine, whom I appointed Force Commander, with the consent of the Security Council, on 12 April 1978.

Discipline

9. The discipline, understanding and bearing of the members of UNIFIL, who have worked in difficult and often dangerous conditions, have been of a high order, reflecting credit on the soldiers and their commanders, as well as on the countries that contribute contingents to the Force.

Casualties

10. During the first six months of the operation, eight members of UNIFIL were killed and 52 injured as a result of firing incidents and mine explosions. Three soldiers were killed in accidents.


II. DEPLOYMENT AND LOGISTICS

A. Deployment


11. During the first four months of the operation, the deployment of UNIFIL underwent a number of major changes as a consequence of the build-up of the Force and the successive withdrawals of the Israeli forces.

12. In the initial phase up to 10 April, the first UNIFIL troops which had arrived in the mission area were deployed in a strip of land immediately south and east of the Litani River. During the first days of the operation, the French battalion was deployed in the Tyre area in the west, the Iranian company was positioned in the Akiya Bridge area in the central sector and the Swedish company occupied positions in the eastern sector around and east of the Khardala Bridge. At the end of March, the Norwegian battalion had arrived and was deployed in the eastern sector, and the Swedish company was redeployed in the central-western sector between the French battalion and the Iranian company.

13. On 11 and 14 April, the first and second phases of the Israeli withdrawal took place. In the first phase the Israeli forces withdrew from the Rachaiya el Foukhar area east of the Litani River and in the second from the Taibe area south of the Litani. Following those two withdrawals the Israeli positions were taken over by the Norwegian battalion. By 14 April the main body of the Nepalese contingent had arrived and was deployed in the central-eastern sector between the Iranian company and the Norwegian battalion.

14. On 30 April the third phase of the Israeli withdrawal took place in the western sector in the Qana and Tibnin areas. By that date the Senegalese contingent had arrived in the mission area and had been deployed in the central- western sector between the French battalion and the Swedish company. The positions evacuated by the Israeli forces were taken over by UNIFIL units, most of them Senegalese but tome also French, Iranian and Swedish.

15. On 12 May the Nigerian battalion which had recently arrived in the mission area took over positions from the Senegalese battalion and the Swedish company in the central sector, and the Swedish company was returned to its parent unit in UNEF.

16. During the first days of June the Irish, Fijian and Iranian battalions arrived in the mission area. The Irish troops were deployed in the south-eastern sector in the Tibnin area, the Fijians took over positions in the western sector from the French battalion which moved to the south-western sector east of Naqoura. The Iranian battalion was deployed south of the Litani River near the Akiya Bridge in positions previously manned by the Iranian company from UNDOF. This company left the area of operation and returned to UNDOF on 14 June.

17. On 13 June the fourth and last phase of the Israeli withdrawal took place. But this time, except for five positions, the withdrawing Israeli forces handed over control of the evacuated area not to UNIFIL but to the Lebanese de facto armed groups. Following extensive negotiations of the parties concerned, UNIFIL subsequently succeeded in establishing in this area a total of 24 positions, in addition to the five former UNTSO observation posts.

18. The present deployment of UNIFIL is as follows (see annexed map):

B. Accommodation

19. The Force as a whole faces an increasingly severe problem of accommodations. Approximately 80 per cent of contingent personnel are accommodated under canvas since buildings are not available in sufficient quantities or in the required locations. Of those buildings which are occupied by UNIFIL, many have suffered severe damage or are in an unfinished state. Self-help projects are in progress to improve unit accommodations, but neither the Force headquarters nor the units possess the capability or resources for large-scale construction. At Naqoura a few repaired buildings have been adapted as offices, and prefabricated buildings provide an operating room and a temperature-controlled drug storage facility in the Norwegian medical unit. All military personnel of UNIFIL headquarters and units at Naqoura are accommodated under canvas except for the headquarters officers who are accommodated in recently repaired or prefabricated buildings.

20. With the approaching rainy season and winter, the hardship imposed on the members of UNIFIL will quickly become severe. Therefore, it will be necessary to take urgent action for the provision of further prefabricated buildings if the Security Council should decide to extend the mandate of UNIFIL.


C. Logistic support

21. Logistic support for UNIFIL is provided by a headquarters logistics branch with a staff of 40, a French logistic component of 537, a Norwegian logistic component of 217 and a Canadian signals unit of 126.

22. The French logistic component comprises a supply platoon, a transport company, a maintenance company and an engineer company. The supply platoon provides all UNIFIL contingents with food, fuel, clothing and all types of equipment and materiel. The transport platoon, with a total of 72 task vehicles, provides second-line transport throughout the mission area as well as supplementary first-line transport support to the contingents as requested. The maintenance company undertakes second-line inspection, maintenance, recovery and repair of military items of French origin; it also maintains and repairs the refrigeration equipment of the Force and supplies spare parts for the three helicopters of the French battalion. The engineer company is engaged in mine clearing as well as in road and track repair, water point improvements and minor construction tasks. By September 1978 the engineer company had destroyed approximately 3,000 assorted mines as well as a large number of other explosive devices.

23. The Norwegian logistic component consists of an air unit, a medical company and a maintenance company. The air unit operates four utility helicopters for medical evacuation and normal personnel and freight transport tasks within and outside the area of operation. The medical company operates the UNIFIL field hospital, supplies contingents with medical and dental equipment and stores and maintains a hygiene inspection team which operates throughout the area of operation. A large number of local emergency cases have also been treated by this unit. The maintenance company undertakes second-line inspection, maintenance, recovery and repair of military materials of non-French origin.

24. The Canadian signals unit provides communications facilities for UNIFIL headquarters as well as the battalion headquarters° This unit was provided by the Canadian Government in response to a special appeal by the Secretary-General for the initial period of six months and is due to leave the area by the end of September. Subject to the extension of the UNIFIL mandate by the Security Council, action is being taken to replace the departing unit by additional personnel made available from certain troop•contributing Governments and by additional civilian staff.

25. All the logistic units were established initially to serve a Force of 4,000 and have had to stretch their resources to the limit to meet the increased demands of the Force after its strength was brought up to 6,000. There is a lack of storage facilities for supplies, particularly in view of the oncoming winter season, and the light engineering plant operated by the engineer company is not quite adequate for dealing with the variety of tasks required of it. Efforts are being made to remedy the situation, partly by reallocating personnel and partly by planning for the acquisition of the most urgently needed equipment. These improvements will have to be dealt with as a matter of urgency, should the Council decide to extend the mandate of the Force.


III. FUNCTIONS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE FORCE

A. Guidelines and terms of reference


26. The guidelines for the operation of UNIFIL are set out in the Secretary- General's report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978) (S/12611) which was approved by the Security Council in its resolution 426 (1978). According to that report UNIFIL was envisaged as a two-stage operation. In the first stage the Force was to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory to the international border. Once this was achieved, UNIFIL was to establish and maintain an area of operation. In this connexion, the Force was to supervise the cessation of hostilities, ensure the peaceful character of the area of operation, control movement and take all measures deemed necessary to ensure the effective restoration of Lebanese sovereignty.

27. To carry out its responsibilities in its area of operation, the following methods are being used:

(a) UNIFIL establishes road blocks and checkpoints throughout the area of operation along all the main and secondary road networks, and, assisted by Lebanese gendarmes when and where available, checks and inspects vehicles and personnel for military equipment and supplies. Uniformed or armed personnel and military equipment are not allowed to enter the UNIFIL area of operation;

(b) UNIFIL establishes observation posts along all key infiltration routes. These observation posts utilize a variety of methods, techniques and equipment to prevent infiltration. For example, radar is used by one battalion and night observation devices by three others during the hours of darkness to detect suspicious movement, and any unauthorized personnel detected are escorted out of the UNIFIL area;

(c) Foot and mobile patrols are conducted day and night. These patrols move and operate along the key highways and in villages to ensure maximum UNIFIL visibility to the local population. They also operate in the remote wadis to keep any unauthorized armed personnel from the area;

(d) Random night-time listening posts are also established to detect unauthorized armed movement. These listening posts are relocated frequently;

(e) A UNIFIL presence is established in as many populated areas as possible. One method to achieve this with the limited troops available is to assign a 10-man detachment to a given village for a one to three-day period and then to move this detachment to another populated area. This has proven effective in providing the population with some measure of assurance and safety.


B. Co-operation with UNTSO

28. As provided in its terms of reference, UNIFIL has had from its inception the co-operation of UNTSO military observers. On 20 March, before the arrival of the first troop contingents, military observers were detached to UNIFIL to staff the temporary headquarters at Naqoura and make the necessary arrangements for the arrival and deployment of the first units of the Force.

29. During the initial phase of deployment, UNTSO military observers assisted UNIFIL by filling selected staff positions at the Force headquarters and by manning mobile teams for liaison between the UNIFIL battalions and Israeli forces within the area of operations. Subsequently, the military observers have been assigned various tasks in accordance with the requirements of the Force.

30. At present these military observers are organized into two elements. First, the Headquarters of the Israel Lebanon Mixed Armistice Commission (ILMAC) in Beirut headed by the Chairman of ILMAC also functions as a liaison office for UNIFIL and for the Chief Co-ordinator of the United Nations Peace-keeping Missions in the Middle East. Second, 36 military observers form the "Observer Group Lebanon" which performs various tasks under the operational control and supervision of the Force Commander. In this connexion the military observers man two former UNTSO observation posts along the armistice demarcation line, conduct patrols as necessary and provide liaison teams with various parties.

31. In addition to the functions carried out by the military observers, UNTSO has also provided administrative support for UNIFIL, particularly during the initial stages. This support has continued to a significant degree in the fields of administration, procurement and transport.

32. In assigning the UNTSO military observers in the Israeli Lebanon sector to assist UNIFIL in the performance of its tasks, the structure of ILMAC has been preserved since, in accordance with the Secretary-General's report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978), the termination of the mandate of UNIFIL by the Security Council will not affect the continued functioning of ILMAC as set out in the appropriate Security Council decision.


C. Contacts with the parties

33. As mentioned in my progress report of 5 May 1978 (S/12620/Add.4) I visited the area from 17 to 19 April 1978. My letter to the Security Council contained in document S/12657 gave the details of this visit. During that time I had conversations with the President, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Lebanon on all aspects of the situation in southern Lebanon and on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978). I also met with the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Beirut. In Israel I had talks with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister.

34. During the period under review, Mr. Roberto E. Guyer and Mr. Brian E. Urquhart, Under-Secretaries-General for Special Political Affairs, paid visits to the area at quest to consult with the parties concerned on questions relating to the implementation of the two Security Council resolutions. General Siilasvuo, the Chief Co-ordinator of the United Nations Peace-keeping Missions in the Middle East, maintained contact with all the parties concerned on the steps to be taken for the speedy implementation f these resolutions. Mr. John Saunders, my Special Representative for humanitarian assistance in Lebanon has also assisted UNIFIL by providing a liaison channel with the Lebanese authorities in Beirut whenever required.

35. General Erskine, the Commander of UNIFIL, has been in constant contact with the parties on matters concerning the deployment and functioning of the Force. In the area of operation, negotiations and consultations are held by members of UNIFIL with the various armed groups in the area as required to ensure the smooth functioning of the Force and to minimize the risks of confrontation and armed clashes. This is generally done through liaison teams and through contacts by the battalion commanders. The battalion commanders also investigate local violations of the cease-fire and all other situations involving incidents which may lead to hostile activities within the UNIFIL area of operations. UNIFIL is also maintaining regular contacts with the local civilian authorities and population.


D. Activities of the Force during the initial stage

36. Owing to the tense situation prevailing in the area during the initial phase, UNIFIL was deployed so as to determine the cessation by Israel of its military action against Lebanese territorial integrity. At the same time, UNIFIL took control of the Akiya and Khardala Bridges to ensure that no armed element infiltrated into its area of operation and to prevent clashes between the opposing forces in the area.

37. In the absence of a precise initial definition of the limits of the UNIFIL area of operation, attempts were originally made to deploy elements of UNIFIL in the vicinity of the Kashmiye Bridge, as well as in the Tyre pocket. When this deployment was challenged on the grounds that the Israel Defence Force (IDF) had not in fact occupied either the bridge or the city of Tyre during the fighting, UNIFIL deployment in the vicinity of the Kashmiye Bridge and the Tyre pocket was not pressed. However, with a view to maintaining an atmosphere of calm and quiet, UNIFIL carried out regular patrols on the coastal road from Zahrani to Tyre, as well as in the city itself.

38. Although the French contingent, after establishing contact with the PLO, was able to reach its location in the Tyre barracks from Beirut unimpeded, both the Iranian and Swedish reinforced companies encountered difficulties when they passed through areas partially controlled by members of Lebanese de facto armed groups. Through the intervention of IDF, an understanding was reached that enabled both the Iranian and Swedish companies to secure passage through these areas. Similarly, in the eastern sector, the Norwegian battalion took over from the reinforced Swedish company with great difficulty, because of the hostile attitude of both the Lebanese de facto armed groups and Palestinian armed elements.


E. Activities of the Force following the first, second and third phases of the withdrawal of Israeli forces

39. The first and second phases of the withdrawal of Israeli forces took place on 11 and 14 April (S/12620/Add.3). The third phase of the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon took place on 30 April (S/12620/Add.4). In the wake of these withdrawals, and in particular following the third phase, Palestinian and Lebanese armed elements made efforts to enter the UNIFIL area of operation on the grounds, in the case of the Palestinians, that they had legitimate rights to do so under the terms of the Cairo Agreement.

110. In accordance with its mandate, which includes the control of movement and prevention of infiltration, UNIFIL took measures to counter these efforts. In these circumstances some armed clashes resulted. The most serious of these occurred on 2 May, when a clash developed between the French troops in the Tyre barracks and armed elements in the city of Tyre. Full details of this incident were reported in paragraphs 10 to 19 of document S/12620/Add.4.

41. The accommodation reached following the armed clash on 2 May did not put an end to attempts to enter the UNIFIL area of operation. While the Palestinian and Lebanese de facto armed elements in the area were prepared to accept an undertaking to stop all attempts at infiltration, it was indicated that this could be done only on the basis of an agreement by UNIFIL to allow non-military supplies to reach Palestinian armed elements that were said by PLO to have remained in the area throughout the Israeli military action. On the basis of humanitarian considerations an ad hoc interim arrangement was worked out for the delivery, under UNIFIL control, of certain non-military supplies - food, water and medicine - to these limited Palestinian groups (see S/12620/Add.5, para. 14). UNIFIL worked out stringent procedures for the implementation of the ad hoc arrangement, and the armed elements in question are currently under the close surveillance of UNIFIL, and access to their locations is controlled. Since the interim arrangement went into effect, the incidence of deliberate infiltration has abated.

42. During this period UNIFIL instituted measures to deal with armed elements intercepted within its area of deployment. The procedure is to seal off the area while negotiations are conducted for the withdrawal of the group in question.


F. Activities of UNIFIL after 13 June

43. The manner in which IDF carried out the last phase of its withdrawal on 13 June has posed major problems to UNIFIL. In contrast to the previous procedure of handing over evacuated areas to UNIFIL, IDF, on 13 June, formally turned over the remaining evacuated areas to the leadership of the Lebanese de facto armed groups in the area. The territory involved, which runs for the most part along the Israel-Lebanon armistice demarcation line (ADL), encompasses Shia and some Sunni Moslem villages, as well as Christian villages. Prior to the withdrawal on 13 June, extensive contacts were maintained between Israeli and UNIFIL officials on the appropriate modalities for carrying out the withdrawal in accordance with Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) but no common ground was reached. In the event, IDF handed over the area to Major Haddad, on the grounds that it considered him to be a legitimate representative of the Lebanese army.

44. In response to a letter from Foreign Minister Dayan dated 13 June (S/12736), which informed the Secretary-General of the fulfilment by Israel of its part of the implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978), the Secretary-General, in a letter dated 14 June, observed inter alia that the difficult tasks ahead for UNIFIL had certainly not been facilitated by the decision of the Israeli Government not to turn over control of the remainder of the evacuated area to UNIFIL. The Secretary-General added that he was making efforts to deal satisfactorily with the consequences of that development in co-operation with the Lebanese Government (S/12738). As reported by the Secretary-General in paragraph 22 of document S/12620/Add.5, UNIFIL on 13 June was able to occupy five positions evacuated by IDF on that day. Later in June and in July, 14 more positions were occupied. On 10 and 11 September, as a result of renewed efforts to further its deployment, UNIFIL was able to occupy five new positions.

45. The Secretary-General, the Chief Co-ordinator, the Commander of UNIFIL and other representatives of the Secretary-General, in close consultation with the Lebanese Government, have continued to exert every effort to achieve, as a first practical step, progressively wider deployment of UNIFIL in the area turned over to the Lebanese de facto armed groups and to ensure that UNIFIL ultimately would be in a position effectively to discharge all parts of its mandate in its entire area of operation. The Secretary-General has made it known to all the parties concerned that it remains his intention to utilize peaceful and diplomatic means to achieve this objective. In this connexion, UNIFIL has shown the utmost restraint even though the Lebanese de facto armed groups have consistently threatened to use force to oppose UNIFIL attempts to gain wider deployment in the area under their control. Although there have been indications of flexibility from time to time, UNIFIL thus far has been able to occupy only 24 positions in this area in addition to the five former UNTSO observation posts. However, very much remains to be done since UNIFIL continues to be hampered by restrictions on its freedom of movement and is not in a position to exercise the measure of control that is required for the full discharge of its mandate.

46. Parallel to efforts to enlarge its deployment and control in the area, UNIFIL has been able to assist in the maintenance of the cease-fire, as well as to ensure that its area of deployment is not used for hostile activities of any kind. With the return of the civilian population to their villages, UNIFIL has taken effective measures to ensure the peaceful character of this area. In this connexion UNIFIL, as indicated above, has worked out stringent measures to prevent infiltration of armed personnel and weapons by active patrolling, the establishment of static observation posts and manning of checkpoints.

47. UNIFIL activities after 13 June have been complicated by fire directed at UNIFIL forces. During the months of June, July and August, fire was frequently directed by the Lebanese de facto armed groups at, or in the close proximity of, UNIFIL patrols or positions. These incidents ranged from small arms and/or heavy machine-gun fire in the vicinity of the French and Irish battalions to artillery fire in the vicinity of the Nepalese and Norwegian sectors. On 12 July, one serious clash occurred in the vicinity of Qana between Palestinian armed elements and the French battalion. This resulted in 51 UNIFIL soldiers being detained for several hours in various areas of Tyre by Palestinian armed elements. As a result of intervention by Chairman Arafat, the UNIFIL personnel were released unharmed. Another potentially serious clash occurred mid-August, when Palestinian armed elements opened fire on a Norwegian battalion outpost near Rachaya el Foukhar, resulting in an hour-long exchange of fire. Local negotiations ended the firing.


G. Efforts to assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area

48. Since the inception of UNIFIL, the Secretary-General, the Chief Co-ordinator, the Force Commander and other representatives of the Secretary-General have devoted considerable time and energy, in close co-operation with the Lebanese Government and others concerned, in an effort to bring about the effective return of Lebanese authority to southern Lebanon. Initially attention was focused on the provision by the Government of Lebanon of its administrative personnel and gendarmes in southern Lebanon. Accordingly, by the end of July 1978, the Government of Lebanon was represented south of the Litani River by a civilian administrator in Tyre and approximately 100 Lebanese gendarmes based in Tyre, Qana, Jwaya, Tibnin and Liasbaya. The gendarmes work in co-operation with UNIFIL at many checkpoints, where they assist in the inspection of persons and vehicles. In many instances they also serve as interpreters and liaison officers. Purely civil offences and crimes which are reported to UNIFIL are handed over to the gendarmes for investigation.

49. The other area of concern in ensuring the return of effective Lebanese authority is related to efforts to deploy elements of the Lebanese army in the south. The Secretary-General and his representatives, in consultation with the Government of Lebanon, have emphasized the necessity of initiating this vital move at the earliest possible time. After extensive exchanges of views on all sides, it appeared that the major obstacles to moving units of the Lebanese army south of the Litani had been surmounted, and the Government of Lebanon informed the Secretary-General that it had reached a decision to send, on the morning of 31 July 1978, a task force to Tibnin through Marjayoun. This task force, consisting of 700 men, 80 vehicles, 9 armoured cars, 4 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and 4 122 ram howitzers, reached the Kaoukaba area on the morning of 31 July. On their arrival, elements of the Lebanese de facto armed groups opened fire on them with artillery.

50. In these circumstances, the Lebanese army contingent found itself unable to proceed and remained in the area of Kaoukaba. From 31 July to 8 August 1978 about 300 shells were fired by the Lebanese de facto armed groups into the vicinity of Kaoukaba and around and into positions of the Nepalese battalion. One Lebanese soldier was killed and nine injured; no casualties were sustained by UNIFIL. On 13 August the Lebanese task force in Kaoukaba was reduced to a rifle company reinforced with three armoured cars and four APCs. The main body was redeployed north-east of Kaoukaba in Rachaya el Ouadi and Ablate.

51. The Lebanese de facto armed groups have continued to deny the peaceful transit of the Lebanese army contingent to Tibnin through the area under their control. The Secretary-General addressed a personal appeal on this problem to the Prime Minister of Israel. on 1 August. Also with a view to facilitating the movement of the Lebanese army contingent to Tibnin, UNIFIL has conducted a series of high- level meetings with the Lebanese army command on the one hand, and the Lebanese de facto armed groups and IDF on the other. Under-Secretary-General Brian Urquhart also went to the area in an effort to resolve this and other problems. Contacts are continuing with this end in view, but all efforts have so far proved inconclusive.


H. Humanitarian assistance

52. The United Nations has set up a sizable emergency relief and reconstruction programme for southern Lebanon which is co-ordinated by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for humanitarian assistance in Lebanon. UNIFIL assists the Special Representative in the performance of his responsibilities in various ways. At UNIFIL headquarters a humanitarian section provides liaison in the area of operation in relation to all aspects of the United Nations assistance programme, and each contingent has a liaison officer assigned to this task.

53. During the first month of its mandate, UNIFIL assisted villagers in southern Lebanon in recovering their dead and wounded, in locating missing persons including children, in assisting in the closing of uprooted graves and burying many dead animals. To the extent of its capacity and as an emergency measure, the Force also provided the civilian population with temporary accommodation, household stores and medical treatment and supplies. In addition, a major mine and bomb clearance programme was conducted by UNIFIL. This activity is continuing, particularly in support of water and electricity projects.

54. With the restoration of stability in the area of deployment of UNIFIL, the United Nations Development Programme has initiated a number of projects with the assistance of UNIFIL. These projects include food distribution to the local Population, survey and repair of water and electrical equipment and supply, provision of health services to civilian patients, the provision of tentage for emergency accommodation, the supply of fertilizer for agriculture and the reconstruction and repair of school buildings.


IV. FINANCIAL ASPECTS

55. Should the Security Council decide to extend the UNIFIL mandate for a period of six months beyond 18 September 1978, the cost of maintaining the Force for that period would be of the order of $69 million, based on continuance of its existing responsibilities and the manpower requirements indicated earlier in this report.

The appropriation approved by the General Assembly for the present mandate amounts to $54 million, in addition to which the Secretary-General was authorized to enter into commitments for the Force of up to $6.9 million under the terms of General Assembly resolution 32/214 on unforeseen and extraordinary expenses for the biennium 1978-1979, following the increase in the strength of UNIFIL from 4,000 to approximately 6,000 troops approved by the Security Council in its resolution

427 (1978) of 3 May 1978. In discharging his responsibilities relating to the Force under the budgetary provisions for the present mandate, the Secretary-General has been mindful of the necessity of exercising the utmost economy consistent with efficient performance.


V. OBSERVATIONS

56. The United Nations Interim Force in southern Lebanon is now completing its first six months of operations. During that time the Force has been built up and has developed cohesion and esprit de corps. It has, in circumstances of great difficulty, established the necessary framework of command, staff and logistics. It has progressively deployed and exerted control over most of its area of operation. It has allowed normal and peaceful life to be resumed in much of the territory, and has helped much of the civilian population to return. Where it is fully deployed there is a progressive normalization of life.

57. None the less very much remains to be done before the task entrusted to UNIFIL by the Security Council is fulfilled. The Force has yet to exert control over, and to establish peaceful conditions in, the entire area of operation. Above all, the task of bringing about the restoration of Lebanese sovereignty and authority in southern Lebanon has only begun, and even in the large area under the full control of UNIFIL, progress has been slow.

58. I and my colleagues have made continuous efforts to expedite the fulfilment of the mandate and will continue to do so. I fully understand, and share, the sense of frustration expressed on many sides that six months has not proved long enough to discharge the task prescribed by the Security Council last March.

59. It is important, however, not to underestimate what has been achieved, and above all not to overlook the enormous difficulties underlying the tragedy of Lebanon. The situation in southern Lebanon is very closely linked to the formidable problems of Lebanon as a whole. Without an amelioration of those problems it will be extremely difficult fully to carry out the UNIFIL mandate in southern Lebanon. But the Lebanese problem is in itself in turn inextricably linked with the problem of the Middle East. It is difficult to envisage a full and satisfactory over-all solution of the problems of Lebanon except in the framework of a general settlement of the Middle East problem or at the very least, of a significant degree of movement toward such a settlement. It is only in this perspective that one can view realistically the task of UNIFIL. In these circumstances it seems to me that UNIFIL has made good initial progress.

60. That being said, however, we must face the fact that the present situation, through no fault of UNIFIL, is unacceptable. The resistance of certain armed groups to its full deployment and the support from outside which these groups are known to enjoy, combined with the resulting difficulties experienced by the Lebanese Government in exerting its authority in the UNIFIL area of operation, constitute formidable obstacles to the implementation of the mandate of UNIFIL.

61. The fact that the Israel Defence Force handed over control of the border area to de facto armed groups, rather than to UNIFIL, has continued to make impossible the full deployment of UNIFIL and the restoration of the authority of the Lebanese Government in the whole area of operation. In this connexion it is important to stress that one of the main tasks of UNIFIL is to protect the rights and security of all of the inhabitants of its area of operation. To do this it requires full freedom of movement and deployment throughout the area.

62. The course pursued by UNIFIL has been to establish itself by firmness, restraint, and persuasion, and to promote confidence and reach workable understandings with all of the groups in and around the area. As agreed by the Security Council at the outset, full co-operation of all parties is an essential element for the effective functioning of UNIFIL. Greatly to the credit of all concerned this procedure has so far on the whole worked well with the armed elements to the north and west of the area of operation. I sincerely hope that our unremitting efforts will have the same results with the armed groups in the south of the area of operation. If this does not come about soon, I am fully aware that the purposes and the practical performance of UNIFIL will inevitably become blunted and compromised. In such a situation, an erosion of the support for, and effectiveness of, this vital operation will be inevitable. Furthermore, the co-operation which has hitherto been extended to UNIFIL by other groups will be jeopardized.

63. In this connexion I feel obliged to mention an essential, but not always understood aspect of the situation in southern Lebanon. The problem is not only to come to terms with a number of armed groups with strongly conflicting objectives. It is also to change the psychological climate in which these groups live and to bring about a change in the way they view not only each other but also the outside -world. The degree of suspicion, fear, violence and even fatalism which prevails in this afflicted part of the world poses a tremendous obstacle to the farces of peace and order, including UNIFIL.

64. The courageous men of UNIFIL have already done much to restore normality in their area of operation and have suffered casualties, hardships and much danger in the process. If for any reason UNIFIL were to be removed, the result, in the present circumstances, could only be a disastrous change for the worse in southern Lebanon. The Government of Lebanon has informed me that it is fully in agreement with an extension of the mandate of UNIFIL. I support this position and therefore recommend to the Council the renewal of the UNIFIL mandate for a further six-month period.

65. In making this recommendation I feel obliged to warn against the notion of an indefinite and automatic renewal of the mandate of UNIFIL. In this connexion it has even been suggested that the mandate might be renewed for a shorter period. The existence of UNIFIL must not be allowed to become the pretext for delay in achieving the objectives of the Security Council's original decisions. The United Nations must expect, and has a right to expect, the full co-operation of all parties and Governments concerned in pursuing this enterprise to a successful conclusion.

66. The establishment of UNIFIL and its prolongation are a heavy burden on the resources of the United Nations and of many of the Member States. Such a burden can only be justified by the seriousness of the situation and the infinitely greater burden on Lebanon and on the international community which would certainly result from a further deterioration of the situation in the area. I wish here to pay tribute to the Governments who have provided the contingents of the Force and also to those Governments who have provided support in other practical forms. I wish also to give the highest praise to the Force Commander, General Erskine, his staff, both military and civilian, the officers and men of the Force, as well as the military observers of UNTSO and the United Nations Field Service staff assigned to UNIFIL for their skill, understanding and courage.

67. It is easy to pay tribute in words to our men in the field, and they deserve it. I am, however, very conscious of the hardships, risks and even deprivations which these United Nations operations impose on those who carry them out. Some of these are inevitable and are accepted as a matter of course by soldiers. Others, unfortunately, derive from a lack of adequate resources and support. A military force in the field is not, and cannot be, an inexpensive enterprise. While all due economy and good management must be exercised, this must not be done at the expense of the health, safety or minimal comfort of the troops. In particular I am concerned about winter conditions in southern Lebanon, which will test the endurance of the Force to the utmost. The fact that UNIFIL was initially established only for six months has added greatly to this problem, since it did not allow provision for winter conditions. I therefore appeal to all Member Governments, and especially to those with particular responsibilities for administrative and budgetary questions, to approach the problem always bearing in mind what we are asking of our peace-keeping forces, what conditions they are operating in and how important their morale and well-being are to the discharge of their vital tasks.

68. Finally, I wish to pay tribute to the memory of those members of the Force who have given their lives in the service of peace in southern Lebanon. Their sacrifice reminds us that the road to peace is long, hard and often dangerous. Their best memorial would be the carrying on of the task of UNIFIL to a quick and successful conclusion.


MAP: UNIFIL deployment as of September 1978

(map can be viewed in the pdf format of this document)



-----

Complete document in PDF format (Requires Acrobat Reader)

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter