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UNITED
NATIONS
S

        Security Council
Distr.
GENERAL
S/14996
25 April 1982

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

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


The present report is being submitted to the Security Council in pursuance of its resolution 501 (1982) of 25 February 1982, relating to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). In that resolution the Council, inter alia, decided to remain seized of the question and invited the Secretary-General to report to it "on the situation as a whole within two months".

2. During the intervening period the situation in the area has remained extremely volatile, and the basic underlying tensions, to which I referred in my report of 16 February 1982 (S/14869) , have persisted. While the arrangements for the cease-fire in southern Lebanon, which came into effect in July 1981, have generally held, unresolved tensions have led to the very real danger of widespread hostilities being sparked in the area. It was for this reason, in particular, that I learnt with deep concern of the Israeli airstrikes into Lebanon on 21 April 1982. The text of the appeal I made that day for an immediate cessation of all hostile acts and urging all parties to exercise the maximum restraint was noted by the President and members of the Security Council in the statement that they issued on 22 April 1982 (S/14995) .

3. I wish to stress once again that the cease-fire, however important, is no substitute for the fulfilment of the UNIFIL mandate. Despite the Security Council's frequent reaffirmation of that mandate, most recently in paragraph 1 of resolution 501 (1982) , I regret having to report that there has been little progress in that direction in the past two months.

4. I very much hope, however, that the increase in the strength of UNIFIL by 1,000 men, as authorized by the Security Council in resolution 501 (1982) , coupled with other measures that are being undertaken, will measurably enhance the ability of the Force to discharge its responsibilities. I would also hope that the full co-operation of the parties will be forthcoming, for the present situation can only be regarded as potentially explosive.

5. Following my letter of 1 March 1982 to the President of the Security Council (S/14899) and her reply of 11 March 1982 (S/14900), I approached a number of the Governments which are already contributing to UNIFIL, in order to secure the additional troops. I am pleased to inform the Council that Ghana, Ireland, Nepal and Norway have agreed to increase their contingents by 221, 70, 30 and 20 men, respectively. The increase will become effective on the normal dates of rotation of the contingents concerned. I also submitted to the French authorities a request for a battalion of approximately 600 men. Agreement in principle has been received, and consultations are continuing following the visit of a high-ranking French mission to the area. As regards the balance of the increase, a decision will soon be taken in the light of logistical requirements arising from the troop increase, bearing in mind the principle of equitable geographic representation.

6. Also in compliance with resolution 501 (1982) , I have instructed the Chief of staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision organization (UNTSO) to contact the Israeli and Lebanese Governments, with a view to reactivating the General Armistice Agreement of 23 March 1949 and the convening of an early meeting of the Israel-Lebanon Mixed Armistice Commission (ILMAC). Despite the known difficulties, efforts to achieve this objective are continuing.

7. Regarding the implementation of a phased programme of activities with the Government of Lebanon, it is evident that any substantial progress will require the full and positive commitment of all parties. To that end, the commander of UNIFIL has initiated a series of meetings aimed at enlisting support for certain early steps that would, in practical terms, demonstrate the desire of the parties to co-operate with UNIFIL and also contribute to a reduction of tension on the ground. An encouraging development in this connexion was the re-establishment, in late March 1982, of a United Nations position near Chateau de Beaufort. That position had been withdrawn in August 1979 for security reasons, and earlier efforts to have it reinstated had not been successful, owing to recurrent hostilities in the area.

8. In concluding this report, I should like to stress the urgency of addressing the basic problems that have, till now, impeded the full implementation of the objectives of the Council as set out in resolution 425 (1978) . I remain convinced that the unimpeded implementation of that mandate is in the best interest of all the parties concerned. The Force provides a critical factor for restraint and stability in a situation that is continuously dangerous. In these circumstances, I reiterate my urgent appeal to the parties to exercise maximum restraint and to co-operate fully with a strengthened UNIFIL in the fulfilment of its objectives. Failure to do so cannot only lead to breaches of the cease-fire but could also seriously impair the prospects of peace in the region.

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