Budget committee takes up draft text on financing for Lebanon force

News and Press Release
Originally published

Fifth Committee
Sixty-first General Assembly
57th Meeting (AM)

In a brief meeting this morning, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) heard the introduction of a draft resolution that would provide financing for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008.

Reporting to the Committee about the outcome of informal consultations on the text (document A/C.5/61/L.53), Vice-Chairman Alexios Mitsopoulos ( Greece) said that it had become evident that no agreement could be reached on the text. The draft was introduced by the representative of Pakistan, on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China.

The Committee's practice is to adopt texts by consensus, but for several years the resolution on UNIFIL has required a vote. In several prior resolutions on UNIFIL -- the latest being resolution 61/250 B -- the Assembly had requested Israel to pay for the damage resulting from the incident at the Mission's headquarters at Qana on 18 April 1996. By the text introduced today, the Assembly would stress once again that Israel should pay the amount of $1.12 million resulting from the incident.

The proposed draft also contains provisions regarding the Strategic Military Cell established last year to support immediate planning needs for UNIFIL, following the adoption of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006). The proposed text says the Cell "reflects an approach that is different from the established structure and practices of the Secretariat and from the usual role of the Military Adviser", and would have the Secretary-General report on the results of the comprehensive review of the Cell at the resumed sixty-second session, including on the possibility of applying the approach to other missions, particularly large-scale and complex ones.

The Cell was introduced following a Security Council agreement on UNIFIL's expansion, in the context of a fragile political situation that was dominated by a high risk of renewed conflict in Lebanon. The agreement to establish the Cell was expected to enable participating troop-contributing countries to rapidly deploy to the expanded Force. According to the Secretary-General's preliminary report on the Cell (document A/61/883), which presents an overview of its first six months of operations, such temporary reinforcements could provide a case-by-case solution to specific requirements, but other potential means of reinforcement might exist and might be necessary to explore in the future.

Action on the text will be taken at a future meeting.

Also today, the representatives of Argentina and Germany (who also spoke on behalf of the European Union) paid tribute to Committee Rapporteur Diego Simancas ( Mexico), who was soon to depart from New York.

For information media - not an official record