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UNITED
NATIONS
S

        Security Council
Distr.
GENERAL
S/15455
14 October 1982

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE UNITED NATIONS

INTERIM FORCE IN LEBANON


Introduction

In its resolution 519 (1982) of 17 August 1982, the Security Council decided to prolong the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a further interim period of two months, until 19 October 1982, and authorized the Force during that period to continue to carry out, in addition, the interim tasks in the humanitarian and administrative fields assigned to it in paragraph 2 of resolution 511 (1982) . Moreover, the Security Council, bearing in mind the restrictions imposed on the Force's freedom of movement and the disturbing developments within its area of operations described in paragraphs 5, 8 and 9 of my previous report on UNIFIL (S/15357), also called on all concerned to extend full cooperation to the Force in the discharge of its task.

2. The present report reviews developments relating to the functioning of UNIFIL since the adoption of resolution 519 (1982).


Organization of the Force

3. As stated in my report of 13 August 1982 (S/15357), efforts have continued to keep changes in the organization of UNIFIL to a minimum. In spite of the short-term extension of the mandate of UNIFIL, essential rotations both of contingents and at UNIFIL headquarters have been carried out normally. Command of the force continues to be exercised by Lieutenant-General William Callaghan.

4. As of 14 October 1982, the composition of UNIFIL was as follows:

At the request of the French Government, 482 officers and men of the French battalion were temporarily released on 29 September 1982 from UNIFIL to their national authorities and were incorporated by them into the French contingent of the Multinational Force (MNF) in Beirut.

5. In addition to the personnel listed above, UNIFIL has been assisted, during most of the period under review, by 74 military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). Following the adoption of resolution 521 (1982), by which the Security Council authorized the increase of the number of observers in and around Beirut, 25 of those observers were temporarily transferred! to the Observer Group Beirut.

6. Since 18 August 1982, 4 members of the Force have lost their lives and 12 have been wounded. Of the fatalities, 1, a French lieutenant-colonel, was shot by an unidentified sniper while inspecting the UNIFIL house in the southern outskirts of Beirut. The remaining 3 deaths were accidental. Since UNIFIL was established, 83 members of the Force have died, 37 of them as a result of firing and mine explosions, 36 in accidents and 10 from natural causes. Some 119 have been wounded] in armed clashes, shellings and mine explosions.

7. Logistic support of the Force continues to be problematic. Indeed, restrictions imposed by the Israeli forces on UNIFIL freedom of movement have been maintained, with the exception of land communications between UNIFIL headquarters at Naqura and the area of deployment. In particular, UNIFIL continues to be restricted in its movements north of tyre barracks. As a rule, the Force has been prevented from re-establishing its normal contacts with the Lebanese authorities in Beirut and, generally speaking, from reopening its normal logistical channels with the Beirut harbour and its Lebanese procurement sources. It is my earnest hope that the Security Council's call for co-operation with the United Nations forces in the area as expressed in paragraph 6 of its resolution 521 (1982) will, in future, be heeded. The systematic curtailment of road and air communications between capital, the various battalion areas and the rest of Lebanon, including its capital, has been a most disturbing example of the constraints to which UNIFIL, has been subjected by the Israeli forces.

8. The demolition and defusing of unexploded mines and bombs remains an important and highly risky function of UNIFIL.

9. The deployment of UNIFIL has been affected by the temporary release of 482 personnel of the French battalion to the Multinational Force in Beirut. As a result, the Nigerian, Nepalese and Ghanaian battalions were redeployed in order to take over the areas vacated by the departing French troops. Some observation posts and check-points, mainly in the Nepalese battalion area, which were not considered essential were closed down. UNTSO military observers have continued to man the five observation posts along the armistice demarcation line and to maintain teams at tyre, Metulla and Chateau de Beaufort. Their five mobile teams have now been reduced to three, owing to the increased responsibilities entrusted to UNTSO in and around Beirut. There has been no change in the disposition of the Lebanese army or the gendarmerie personnel serving with UNIFIL since my last report (S/15357).

10. The presence and activities of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) within the UNIFIL area of deployment have significantly decreased; during the reporting period. However, IDF personnel has continued occasionally to conduct house searches and to detain civilians. On two occasions, Israeli officers forces their way into civilian houses within the Ghanaian battalion headquarters compound.

11. UNIFIL has continued to resist attempts by the de facto forces (Christian and associated militias) to enter its area. In retaliation, the de facto forces intermittently closed some of their check-points to UNIFIL traffic, fired close to UNIFIL positions on several occasions, harassed UNIFIL personnel at a check-point and hijacked a UNIFIL vehicle. In a very few instances, the de facto forces were able to operate within the UNIFIL area in combined patrols with, or under the escort of, Israeli forces.

12. The new local groups, armed and uniformed by the Israeli forces, whose emergence I mentioned in my previous report (S/15357, para. 9), have been contained by UNIFIL and, as a result, have remained largely inactive. In four instances, elements belonging to those irregular bands were disarmed by UNIFIL personnel as they attempted to pass check-points or conduct patrols.

13. Throughout the period under review, the UNIFIL area has remained generally quiet, and no armed clashes have been observed.

14. It is a significant fact that the population in the UNIFIL area of deployment which in 1978 was, at most, a few thousand, had increased to more than a quarter of a million by June 1982 and has subsequently further increased by approximately 150,000. This has inevitably increased the responsibility of UNIFIL for security in the area. The number of displaced persons who sought temporary refuge in the UNIFIL area gradually decreased in September as the situation in other parts of Lebanon and especially in Beirut improved. Conversely, villages that had been totally or partially abandoned by their population for a number of years saw the return of a significant number of inhabitants.

15. UNIFIL humanitarian assistance continues to be extended to the population residing in its area, including those displaced persons from the north who sought in it temporary refuge from the hostilities. Close co-operation has been maintained with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the distribution of basic food commodities and milk to the needy as well as in the provision of potable water. The Swedish medical company and the medical teams of the battalions have continued to render medical assistance to Lebanese civilians, often with the support of the Italian helicopter wing. The number of admissions as well as of out-patients treated in the UNIFIL hospital has remained at the same high level as in the previous reporting period. In some instances, the UNIFIL hospital admitted serious cases referred to it by ICRC. Although UNIFIL remains unable to provide direct humanitarian assistance outside its area of operation, particularly in Tyre and its vicinity, it has been in a position to help other agencies, chiefly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), through the provision of transport, storage facilities, procurement support and medicaments.

16. On 12 October 1982', the Governor of South Lebanon visited UNIFIL headquarter, accompanied by officials of the regional government in Sidon. On that occasion, in consultations were held with the UNIFIL civilian and military staff concerned. The Governor took the opportunity to express his warm appreciation for the UNIFIL contribution to peace, stability and legitimacy in South Lebanon.


Observations

17. As indicated in my previous reports on UNIFIL (S/15194/Add.2 and S/15357), the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 has radically altered the circumstances in which UNIFIL was established and under which it had functioned since March 1978. Following the invasion, as interim tasks and pending a decision by the Security Council on its status, UNIFIL was instructed to continue to man its positions and, to the extent possible in the circumstances, to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to the local population.

18. On 18 June 1982, the Security Council decided, as an interim measure, to extend the mandate of UNIFIL for a period of two months until 19 August 1982 and authorized the Force to carry out, in addition, the interim tasks referred to in my first report (S/15194/Add.2). On 17 August 1982, by its resolution 519 (1982), the Security Council again decided to extend the mandate of UNIFIL for a further interim period of two months until 19 October 1982. In taking that decision, the Council bore in mind "the need, pending an examination by the Council of the situation all its aspects, to preserve in place the capacity of the United Nations to assist in the restoration of the peace and of the authority of the Lebanese Government throughout Lebanon".

19. Despite the difficulties it has faced, UNIFIL has carried out its interim tasks with dedication and efficiency, and its morale remains high. Where the Force is deployed, the activities of the de facto forces and new local armed groups have been effectively contained, and there have been no major incidents. In addition to providing protection and humanitarian assistance to the local population, UNIFIL has extended the fullest co-operation possible to the humanitarian efforts of various United Nations programmes and ICRC. With the assistance of UNIFIL and the Lebanese battalion attached to it, the Lebanese gendarmes are playing an increasingly active role in the maintenance of law and order in the UNIFIL area.

20. However, the present situation is clearly unsatisfactory. Under its original mandate, UNIFIL was stationed in southern Lebanon "for the purpose of confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restoring international peace and security and assisting the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authorities in the area". While this mandate remains valid even in the present circumstances, it is obvious that the conditions under which UNIFIL was expected to carry it out have radically changed, as has the situation in Lebanon. Moreover, it has not been possible, owing to the attitude of the Israeli authorities, for UNIFIL to play a useful role in the humanitarian and assistance field outside its area of deployment, despite requests that it should do so from the Lebanese Government and local authorities. I have in mind, particularly, certain tasks in Tyre and Sidon, and the assurance of the security of the Palestinian refugee population in those areas.

21. I have been in constant contact with the representatives of the troop­contributing Governments, who have been steadfast in providing contingents for UNIFIL even at considerable sacrifice. These Governments have indicated that they will be prepared to continue to provide contingents to UNIFIL for a further limited period, though the Government of Nepal has signified its inability to continue its participation after the present mandate.

22. I am deeply convinced that the withdrawal of UNIFIL in the present circumstances would have highly undesirable consequences. The Lebanese battalion and the Lebanese gendarmes stationed in the UNIFIL area are not yet in a position to assume full control of that area if UNIFIL were to be withdrawn at this juncture. The withdrawal of UNIFIL in such conditions would therefore be a serious blow to the early restoration of the effective authority of the Lebanese Government in southern Lebanon. Moreover, the danger of violent incidents between the various factions in the UNIFIL area cannot be ruled out.

23. I further believe that if, as is hoped, agreement is reached on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon in the near future, UNIFIL could play a useful and constructive role, as United Nations peace-keeping forces have done before, in facilitating and assisting in the withdrawal process. Such a role would, of Course, require a request by the Lebanese Government, a decision of the Security; Council and the co-operation of the parties concerned.

24. For these reasons, I consider it essential that the stationing of UNIFIL in southern Lebanon should be once again extended for a limited period. In this connexion, the Charge d'Affaires a.i. of Lebanon has addressed to me the following letter on 14 October:

"On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to inform you that the Government of Lebanon has decided to request that the mandate of UNIFIL be extended for a period of three months, that is, until 19 January 1983.

"My Government also seeks that Your Excellency undertake within this period to consult with the Government of Lebanon and to report to the Security Council on ways and means of redefining the mandate of UNIFIL in order to enable the Force to fulfil, unhampered, its original mission, as stated in resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), and the pertinent decisions of the Council. As you are aware that not all parties co-operated in the implementation of resolutions 508 (1982) and 509 (1982), and all subsequent resolutions on Lebanon, my Government feels that without a full and credible co-operation, the mandate of UNIFIL remains unfulfilled."

25. I wish to recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNIFIL for a further limited period, bearing in mind the request and observations of the Government of Lebanon. While the attitude of the Israeli Government as expressed to me has not been in favour of the continued activity of UNIFIL, I wish to express my earnest hope that, if the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Force, the Israeli authorities will extend their co-operation to UNIFIL in order that the Force may carry out fully the tasks entrusted to it by the Council.

26. In concluding this report, I wish to express once again my deep appreciation to the troop-contributing countries for their steadfast support to the Force during the present critical period. I also wish to pay tribute to the Commander of UNIFIL, Lieutenant-General William Callaghan, and his staff, civilian and military, and to the officers and men of UNIFIL as well as to the UNTSO military observers assigned in the area. They have performed their tasks with exemplary dedication and courage in extremely difficult circumstances.


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