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I have the honour to inform you that I have consulted the members of the Security council on the subject referred to in your two memoranda dated 25 and 27 October 1972.
The members of the Security Council, referring to their consensus of 19 April 1972 [S/10611], have no objection to acceding to the request by the Government of Lebanon for an increase in the number of observation posts and the assignment of additional United Nations observers in the Israel-Lebanon sector.
I should be greatly obliged if you would kindly have this letter distributed as a Security Council document, annexing to it your two memoranda referred to above and the request dated 23 October 1972 from the representative of Lebanon. It would also be desirable to have distributed as a separate document [S/10819] the attached text of the statement made by the representative of China during the consultations I held this morning.
Text of the memorandum dated 25 October 1972 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council
2. In pursuance of this consensus three United Nations observation posts were established in southern Lebanon near the armistice demarcation line and the number of United Nations military observers assigned to the Israel-Lebanon Mixed Armistice Commission was increased from 7 to 21.
3. On 23 October 1972 the representative of Lebanon submitted to the Secretary-General a request for an increase in the number of observation posts and military observers in the Israel-Lebanon sector. The text of the message from the representative of Lebanon is annexed.
4. The Secretary-General has asked the Chief of Staff of UNTSO, Major-General Ensio Siilasvuo, to initiate informal consultations with the Lebanese authorities concerned and to submit to him his recommendations on the arrangements to be made, in particular the number of additional observation posts to be established and the number of additional observers, supporting staff and equipment, required for this purpose.
5. The Secretary-General will, of course, bring to the attention of the President of the Security Council as soon as possible General Siilasvuo's recommendations and their financial implications.
Text of the letter dated 23 October 1972 from the representative of Lebanon to the Secretary-General
On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to communicate the following to you.
In view of the prevailing circumstances in southern Lebanon, the Lebanese Government, desirous of promoting conditions of peace and stability in that area, considers it necessary to request an increase in the number of the observation posts and of United Nations observers along the southern border of Lebanon. The positions of the said posts and their manning is to be determined by consultation between the Chief of Staff of UNTSO and the Lebanese military authorities.
The extension of the scale of the United Nations system of observation will provide UNTSO with wider observation coverage of the armistice demarcation line. Provision for such an extension was foreseen in the last paragraph of the consensus of the members of the Security Council of 19 April 1972.
Text of the memorandum dated 27 October 1972 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council
2. On 25 October General Siilasvuo met with the Lebanese authorities concerned in Beirut and on the following day be carried out with them a joint reconnaissance of the possible areas for the establishment of additional observation posts in southern Lebanon. He has submitted to the Secretary-General his recommendations on this matter and they are set forth below.
3. In the light of his consultations with the Lebanese,authorities and their joint reconnaissance, General Siilasvuo recommends that two additional observation posts be established, one at Marouahine (approximate MR 1771-2793) and the other south-east of Markaba at approximate MR 2001-2922. He further recommends that OP Naq be relocated to Labboune (approximate MR 1644-2774) and that the present installation of that OP revert to its former status as an outstation. The three new OPs all have an excellent range of observation, each covering up to 10 kilometres of the armistice demarcation line and offering observation in depth on either side of it.
4. The manning of the new OPs and the conversion of the present OP Naq into an outstation would require an increase of the number of observers in the Israel-Lebanon sector from 21 to 34. Four additional field service officers would also be required. Both the additional military observers and the field service officers could, if necessary, be provided from the other UNTSO sectors for a limited period, although this would entail reducing the established strength of those sectors below their present operation level.
5. Temporary accommodation would be required at the new OP sites as no housing facilities are available there at present. This temporary accommodation could be provided from the existing UNTSO resources. Sufficient radio equipment and operational and administrative vehicles could also be made available from the other UNTSO sectors for a limited period. Other material requirements would be met by the Lebanese authorities.
6. For the OP site near Markaba, road access is good and the necessary temporary accommodation could be established early. This OP could therefore be operational at short notice.
The other two OPs could be made operational at the same time, but only on a daylight OP basis with observers operating from their vehicles pending the construction of access tracks needed for the installation of temporary accommodation.
7. Assuming that no recruitment of additional observers is immediately required, the approximate financial implications of the above arrangements, for a period of two months, would be as follows:
After this period and in the light of the experience, the eventual need to recruit additional observers would have to be assessed.
8. General Siilasvuo recalls that when the original observation posts were set up in the Israel-Lebanon sector, he pointed out that:
"the establishment of three observation posts, as proposed by the Lebanese authorities, cannot provide comprehensive coverage of the armistice demarcation line. The proposed post must be considered rather as a limited United Nations presence on one side of the line which would provide only a measure of observation and a somewhat more rapid supply of information from UNTSO sources than exists at present." [See S/10611, annex, para.7.]
He feels that the establishment of two new OPs together with the relocation of OP Naq would substantially increase the coverage of the armistice demarcation line and thus make the cease-fire observation in the Israel-Lebanon sector more effective. The Secretary-General shares this view and endorses the Chief of staff's recommendations.
9. If there is no objection it is the intention of the Secretary-General to proceed with the arrangements recommended by General Sillasvuo.