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


SC/6474
30 January 1998




SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF
INTERIM FORCE IN LEBANON UNTIL 31 JULY

Resolution 1151 (1998) Adopted Unanimously; Presidential
Statement Expresses Concern over Continuing Violence

The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a further six months until 31 July, condemned all acts of violence, particularly against the Force, and urged the parties to end them.

Through its unanimous adoption of resolution 1151 (1998), the Council reiterated its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries. It called on all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Interim Force for the full implementation of its mandate.

The Council reiterated that the Force should fully implement its mandate, as defined in all relevant resolutions and encouraged further efficiency and savings, provided that they did not affect operational capacity. The Secretary-General was asked to continue consultations with the Lebanese Government and other parties directly concerned with the implementation of the present resolution.

Also this afternoon, through a statement read out by its President, Alain Dejammet (France), the Council expressed its concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon, regretted the loss of civilian life and noted with deep concern UNIFIL's high level of casualties.

The Council urged all parties to exercise restraint and again stressed the urgent need for implementation of all aspects of resolution 425 (1978). Among other things, that resolution calls on Israel to immediately cease its military action against the territorial integrity of Lebanon and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory.

Further, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the full sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries. In that context, it asserted that all States should refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

The Interim Force was established in March 1978 for an initial six-month period to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon and to assist the Lebanese Government in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.

The meeting, which was called to order at 3:21 p.m., was adjourned at 3:27 p.m.

Resolution Adopted

The text of resolution 1151 (1998) reads as follows:


Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, which will be issued as document S/1998/PRST/2, reads as follows:


Secretary-General's Report

In considering the situation in Lebanon, the Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General (document S/1998/53) in which he recommends extending the mandate of UNIFIL for a further six months, until 31 July, at the request of the Government of Lebanon.

The report covers developments in UNIFIL's area of responsibility during the period from 17 July 1997 to 15 January 1998. The UNIFIL was established under Council resolution 425 (1978) with a mandate to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon and to assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority there.

As in his previous report, the Secretary-General observes that UNIFIL's contribution to stability and the protection it is able to afford the population in the area remained important.

The report says the situation in southern Lebanon during the past six months remained volatile and continued to give cause for serious concern. The level of hostilities rose and the increase in civilian casualties is particularly worrisome, it adds. Thirty-four civilians were killed, as compared to nine in the previous reporting period. The Interim Force has continued its efforts to limit the conflict and to protect the inhabitants from the fighting.

The Interim Force recorded 249 operations by armed elements -- a significant increase -- against the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and its local Lebanese auxiliary, the de facto forces (DFF). The armed elements employed small arms, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, recoilless rifles, rockets and explosive devices. The IDF/DFF, in response to attacks or in operations they initiated, employed artillery, mortars, tanks, helicopter gunships, fixed-wing aircraft and explosive devices. The IDF continued its practice of conducting pre-emptive artillery bombardments, as well as long-range patrols beyond its forward positions, according to the report.

The UNIFIL continued to extend assistance to the civilian population in the form of medical care, casualty evacuation, harvest patrols, clothes, blankets, food, engineering works and the distribution of educational material and equipment to poorer schools. In addition, it provided water projects, equipment or services for schools and orphanages, and supplies to social services and needy people from resources made available by troop-contributing countries. Its medical centres and mobile teams provided care to an average of 5,000 civilian patients per month and a field dental programme treated approximately 160 cases per month.

Once again, the Secretary-General draws attention to the serious shortfall in UNIFIL's funding -- with unpaid assessed contributions amounting to some $111 million -- and appeals to Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.

As at 31 December 1997, UNIFIL, headed by Major-General Jioji Konousi Konrote of Fiji, comprised 4,468 troops from Fiji (585), Finland (492), France (247), Ghana (649), Ireland (608), Italy (46), Nepal (596), Norway (614) and Poland (631). Since its establishment, 218 members of the Force have died: 76 as a result of firings or bomb explosions, 90 in accidents and 52 from other causes. A total of 331 have been wounded by firing or by mine or bomb explosions.


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