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I should be grateful if you would circulate this letter and its annex as a document of the Security Council.
Expressing concern about tension in Lebanon, the Council by resolution 1553 (2004) extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
The Council heard the regular briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.
The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
On 13 July, the Council held its regular monthly briefing on the situation in the Middle East with the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, Terje Roed-Larsen. He told the Council that the Israeli withdrawal initiative from Gaza and parts of the West Bank offered an unprecedented opportunity for progress towards peace if implemented in the right way. This entailed full and complete withdrawal by Israel from the Gaza Strip and immediate action by Palestinians to reconstitute their security forces as stipulated in the road map. He further stated that the international community must support the parties along the challenging and laborious road leading to peace.
On 29 July, by the unanimous adoption of resolution 1553 (2004), the Council extended the mandate of UNIFIL by six months, until 31 January 2005. Reiterating its support for the territorial integrity and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries, the Council expressed concern at tensions and the potential for escalation, as noted in the Secretary-General’s report of 21 July (S/2004/572), which covered the period from 21 January to 21 July 2004. The Council reiterated its call on the parties to continue to fulfil their commitments to respect the withdrawal line, to exercise utmost restraint and to cooperate fully with UNIFIL. It further encouraged the Government of Lebanon to continue efforts to ensure the return of its effective authority throughout the south, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces.
Security Council resolutions and statements adopted in July 2004