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The purpose of this letter is to report a development concerning the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
In accordance with its mandate of assisting the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area and as already reported to the Security Council (S/22129, para. 28 and S/22829, para. 29), UNIFIL has held discussions with the Lebanese military authorities concerning arrangements for the transfer to the Lebanese Army of responsibility for security in certain areas presently controlled by UNIFIL. The deployment of the Lebanese Army last year to other parts of south Lebanon, including the Tyre pocket, has added impetus to those discussions, and a mixed military working group comprising representatives of the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL has now submitted a recommendation whereby UNIFIL would hand over to the Lebanese Army the western part of the Ghanaian battalion sector, west of Marakah.
The Commander of the Lebanese Army has informed the Commander of UNIFIL that the Government of Lebanon has accepted the mixed working group's recommendation. I, too, welcome it and have decided to accept it. The proposed step will continue the process of deploying the Lebanese Army in southern Lebanon, thus helping to re-establish the Government's authority in the area. It will also enable UNIFIL to strengthen its deployment elsewhere in the area of operation, where there is a greater need for its presence. The handover is to take place as soon as the necessary practical arrangements have been made.
I should be grateful if you would convey this information to the members of the Security Council.
(Signed) Boutros BOUTROS-GHALI