UNISPAL Home

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


SC/6316
28 January 1997




SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MISSION IN LEBANON UNTIL 31 JULY, CONDEMNS ACTS

OF VIOLENCE COMMITTED AGAINST INTERIM FORCE

Resolution 1095 (1997) Adopted Unanimously; Accompanying
Presidential Statement Reaffirms Lebanese Sovereignty

The Security Council this morning 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 committed against the Force and urged the parties to put an end to them. The current mandate expires on 31 January.

By resolution 1095 (1997), adopted unanimously, the Council reiterated its strong support for Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence within its internationally recognized boundaries. The Council called upon all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Force for the full implementation of its mandate.

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

Also this morning, through a statement read out by its President, Hisashi Owada (Japan), the Council expressed concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon and regretted the loss of civilian life. It urged all parties to exercise restraint and again stressed the urgent need for the full implementation of resolution 425 (1978) which, among other things, called on Israel to immediately cease its military action against the territorial integrity of Lebanon and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory.

Through this morning's presidential statement, 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 again the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

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

The meeting, which was called to order at 10:09 a.m., was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.

Resolution Adopted

The full text of draft resolution 1095 reads as follows:


Text of Presidential Statement The full text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as S/PRST/1997/1, is as follows:
Report of Secretary-General

When the Council met this morning to consider the situation in Lebanon, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1997/42), in which he recommends that the Council extend the mandate of UNIFIL for a further six months, until 31 July, as recently requested by the Lebanese Government. He also reviews the situation in the area during the past six months.

In making his recommendation, the Secretary-General says that, although UNIFIL was still being prevented from implementing its mandate in southern Lebanon, it continued to make an important contribution to stability and to protection of the local population. Established under Council resolution 425 (1978), UNIFIL was mandated to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the area and assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority there.

"While the level of hostilities was somewhat lower than in the past, the situation in southern Lebanon continued to be tense and volatile, as Israel maintained its occupation of parts of the area, while Lebanese groups continued their attacks against the occupying forces", the Secretary-General states. Although the parties were exercising a measure of restraint with respect to firing into populated areas, the situation remained inherently unstable, with an ever-present possibility of renewed deterioration.

The Secretary-General also calls on the parties to find a solution, as soon as possible, to the humanitarian case of a 65-year-old Palestinian who has been accommodated at UNIFIL headquarters since April 1995, after having been deported by the Israeli authorities and denied entry by the Lebanese authorities. Citing unpaid assessments for the Force amounting to some $177 million, he also appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full, and to clear all arrears.

During the past six months, the situation in UNIFIL's area of operation was somewhat calmer than in the previous mandate period, the report states. There had been a lull in hostilities from the beginning of the mandate period until Lebanese parliamentary elections in September, which were followed by a gradual increase in armed activities. In recent weeks, hostilities had risen further, causing a number of casualties.

The report says UNIFIL observed 92 operations by armed elements against the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and its local Lebanese auxiliary during the period, and received reports of more than 160 clashes north of the Litani River. The vast majority of the attacks were carried out by the Islamic Resistance, the military wing of the Shiite Muslim Hizbullah organization. The attacks involved the use of small arms, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, roadside bombs and rockets.

The Israeli forces, for their part -- in response to attacks or in operations they initiated -- employed artillery, mortars, tanks, helicopter gunships and fixed-wing aircraft. The UNIFIL recorded more than 9,000 artillery, mortar and tank rounds fired by them during the six-month period -- significantly fewer than in previous periods. However, air raids by the IDF had increased markedly in recent weeks in response to attacks on its forces.

The report indicates that firing into populated areas had decreased markedly during the period, with both sides showing greater restraint. Nevertheless, UNIFIL recorded a total of 78 firings at or close to UNIFIL positions and personnel -- 76 by the Israeli forces and two by armed elements. Within the Israeli-controlled area, the infrastructure was improved significantly, primarily owing to aid provided by the Lebanese Government. However, the area remained economically dependent on Israel.

Throughout the period, UNIFIL continued to extend assistance to the civilian population, in the form of medical care, harvest patrols, clothes, blankets, food, engineering works and the distribution of educational material and equipment. In addition, it was also involved in water projects, and in providing equipment and services for schools, orphanages, social services and needy people, with resources made available by troop-contributing countries. As in the past, UNIFIL continued the disposal of unexploded ordnance, carrying out 116 controlled explosions.

As of January 1997, UNIFIL comprised 4,505 troops from 10 countries, the report states. It was assisted by 57 military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). In addition, the Force employed 443 civilian staff, of whom 121 were recruited internationally and 322 locally. A monthly appropriation for the Force's expenses, equivalent to $10,476,900, was appropriated by the General Assembly on 7 June 1996, subject to a decision by the Council to extend its mandate beyond 31 January 1997.


* *** *
______________________________________________________________________
For information media - not an official record