Lebanon

Security Council Extends Mandate of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon for One Year, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2650 (2022)

SC/15013

The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until 31 August 2023, demanding that the relevant parties guarantee freedom of movement for the Interim Force and cease any restrictions and hindrances to the movement of its personnel.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2650 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2650), the Council requested UNIFIL to support and assist the Lebanese Armed Forces with the provision of relevant additional non-lethal material — food, fuel and medicine — and logistical support for a period of six months, and no longer than 28 February 2023, within existing resources.

It also reiterated its call for the Government of Lebanon to present a plan to increase its naval capabilities as soon as possible, with the goal of ultimately decreasing UNIFIL’s Maritime Taskforce and transitioning its responsibilities to the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Further, the Council condemned all violations of the Blue Line and called on all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities, prevent any such violations and cooperate fully with the United Nations and UNIFIL. The resolution also called on all States to fully support and respect the establishment — between the Blue Line and the Litani River — of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government or UNIFIL.

Further, it urged all parties to abide by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel and called for closer cooperation between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces, particularly regarding coordinated and adjacent patrols.

By other terms, the Council reiterated its call for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on resolution 1701 (2006) and for Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL.

Speaking after the vote, Richard M. Mills, Jr. (United States) welcomed the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate for an additional year, along with its provision of non-lethal material and logistical support to the Lebanese Armed Forces, which will help extend State authority. Through this new mandate, the Council reaffirms UNIFIL’s authorization to operate independently and conduct both announced and unannounced patrols under the terms of the status-of-forces agreement and its mandate. He noted that this is an important reminder that UNIFIL peacekeepers are being blocked — with increasing frequency — from conducting mandated tasks and accessing sites of concern. Further, he pointed out that the proliferation of prefabricated containers placed by Green Without Borders obstructs UNIFIL’s access to the Blue Line and heightens tensions in the area, further demonstrating that this so-called environmental group is acting on Hizbullah’s behalf. Urging Lebanese authorities to facilitate UNIFIL’s full and timely access to its entire area of operations — including all sites of concern — he also underscored that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River must be free of weapons, except for those used by the Government or UNIFIL. He added that, through today’s resolution, the Council has made clear that Hizbullah’s continued amassing of weapons must stop.

Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates) welcomed the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate and underscored its vital role in supporting Lebanon and the Lebanese Armed Forces, as well as its valuable contribution to maintaining regional stability, especially in the absence of a permanent ceasefire. Troop- and police-contributing countries’ generous contributions are the foundation of peacekeeping in Lebanon and beyond in the region. She welcomed the resolution’s strengthened language expressing Council members’ unified condemnation of the continued maintenance of weapons by armed groups outside the State’s control in violation of resolution 1701 (2006). The maintenance of weapons by non-State groups has been a grave threat to Lebanon’s sovereignty, security and stability, as well as to the region as a whole. The inclusion of such a condemnation in a unanimous resolution by the Council reflects a collective expectation that that core issue is urgently addressed in the interest of the Lebanese people and the country's sovereignty.

Ravindra Raguttahalli (India) said that his delegation voted in favour of today’s resolution due to the critical role played by UNIFIL in maintaining stability across the Blue Line and in the region. He welcomed the resolution’s focus on addressing key challenges facing UNIFIL — such as restrictions on freedom of movement and denial of timely access to sites of operational interest — and on the need to counter widespread misinformation that impacts UNIFIL’s operational capacity and threatens the safety and security of its personnel. Also stressing the need to provide UNIFIL with adequate resources, he said that tasking UNIFIL with additional duties to be carried out with existing resources will impact its overall effectiveness and expressed hope that this “anomaly” will be addressed sooner, rather than later.

João Genésio de Almeida Filho (Brazil) commended China for its successful presidency of the Council during the month of August and wished France the best during its presidency in September.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 10:17 a.m.