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


Security Council
4907th Meeting (AM)
SC/7994
30 January 2004


EXTENDING UN FORCE IN LEBANON UNTIL 31 JULY, SECURITY COUNCIL URGES PARTIES

TO REFRAIN FROM ACTION THAT COULD ESCALATE TENSION

Resolution 1525 (2004) Adopted Unanimously


Expressing concern over the ongoing tensions and potential for escalation in southern Lebanon, the Security Council this morning approved a six-month extension of the United Nations force monitoring the situation.

The move, which will continue the activities of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) through the end of July, endorses Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s view that the fragile stability of southern Lebanon is under threat after an upsurge in violent incidents during the past six months.

In his most recent report on UNIFIL, Mr. Annan recommended the extension, noting that following recent breaches of the line of withdrawal, or “Blue Line”, by both Israel and Hezbollah militias inside Lebanon, six people had been killed since the end of July.  He also expressed concern over Israel's "provocative air violations" of sovereign Lebanese territory while calling Hezbollah's firing of anti-aircraft rounds across the Blue Line a violation "that poses obvious mortal risk".

Today, under the terms of a unanimously adopted resolution 1525 (2004), the Council urged the parties to put and end to these violations and refrain from any act or provocation that could further escalate tensions.  It also condemned all acts of violence and reiterated its call on the parties to fulfil the commitments they had given to fully respect the withdrawal line, to exercise the utmost restraint and to cooperate fully with UNIFIL.

The Council also 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.  It also stressed the importance of the Government of Lebanon continuing to extend those measures and called on it to do its utmost to ensure a calm environment throughout the south, including along the Blue Line.

The meeting began at 11:44 a.m. and ended at 11:46 a.m.

Resolution

Following is the full text of Council resolution 1525 (2004):

Background

When the Security Council met today, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), for the period from 24 July 2003 to 19 January 2004 (document S/2004/50).  According to the report, there were a substantial number of unfortunate incidents involving the use of force in the UNIFIL area of operation, particularly during the first half of the period under review.  Though the violent incidents and serious breaches of the Blue Line that took place were contained, they led to the deaths of six individuals, Lebanese and Israeli.  Tensions were frequently high, and the situation was fragile.  The Secretary-General stresses the need for all parties to abide fully by their obligations under the Security Council’s resolutions, to exercise restraint and to respect the withdrawal line in its entirety to avoid deterioration of the situation on the ground.

It remains a matter of concern, continued the report, that Israel persists in its provocative air violations of sovereign Lebanese territory.  Hezbollah’s firing of anti-aircraft rounds across the Blue Line is also a violation.  Israel’s air strikes against Hezbollah positions added a serious new dimension to the cycle.  The Secretary-General again calls on Israel and Lebanon to ensure that all such violations cease.  He also notes with concern the discovery of explosive devices planted along the Blue Line.  Their presence undermines stability and endangers lives on both sides of the line, including those of UNIFIL personnel.

The Lebanese Government has demonstrated its capacity to exercise its authority throughout southern Lebanon, particularly through the activities of the Joint Security Forces and the Lebanese Army during periods of heightened regional and local tension.  The Secretary-General reiterates the Security Council’s call for Lebanon to extend these measures, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces in the south, and to do its utmost to ensure calm.  He urges the Government to exert control over the use of force on its entire territory and to prevent all attacks across the Blue Line.

The Secretary-General also notes the success in demining over the past year and its promise for southern Lebanon’s social and economic development.  The rate and pace of development needs to be accelerated by bold and pragmatic measures by all concerned if stability is to be the outcome.  In this respect, he urges both the Government of Lebanon and the international donors to bolster their efforts.  The United Nations remains strongly committed to assisting Lebanon in its economic rehabilitation of the south.  The UNIFIL will continue to contribute to the restoration of international peace and security by observing, monitoring and reporting on developments in its area of operation and maintaining liaison with the parties to preserve calm.

In light of conditions prevailing in the area, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend UNIFIL’s mandate until 31 July 2004.  In addition, he again draws attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force.  At present, unpaid assessments amount to $75.2 million.  Eventually, this represents money owed to the Member States contributing the troops that make up the Force.  He appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.


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