Nikki Haley: Hezbollah weapons threaten ‘security and stability in the region’

The US Mission to the UN is urging its fellow UNSC members to renew UNIFIL’s mandate in southern Lebanon at the end of the month. “The United States will continue to raise the threat posed by Hizballah as we seek significant improvements to UNIFIL,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley added.
Hezbollah terrorists Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Ahead of the UN Security Council vote to renew UNIFIL’s presence along the Israeli-Lebanese border, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged the international peacekeeping force to increase its efforts to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining illegal weapons. Haley also said that the alleged infringements committed by the Shiite terrorist group in southern Lebanon need to be investigated by UNIFIL.

The UNSC vote regarding the UN peacekeeping force is set for the end of the month. Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the council members in a letter that he intends to improve UNIFIL’s efforts “regarding the illegal presence of armed personnel, weapons or infrastructure inside its area of operations.”

In a statement released by the US Mission to the UN, Haley recommended that the mandate given to UNIFIL in southern Lebanon be renewed. “We share the Secretary-General’s strong desire to enhance UNIFIL’s efforts to prevent the spread of illegal arms in southern Lebanon,” she stated. “These arms – which are almost entirely in the hands of Hizballah terrorists – threaten the security and stability of the region.”

“UNIFIL must increase its capacity and commitment to investigating and reporting these violations,” Haley continued. “The United States will continue to raise the threat posed by Hizballah as we seek significant improvements to UNIFIL when the Security Council renews its mandate this month.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah Photo Credit: EPA

In the beginning of June, Haley visited Israel for the first time as America’s representative to the UN. During her visit, she toured Israel’s border with Lebanon along with Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and UNIFIL Commander Michael Beary. In the presence of Haley, Kochavi argued with Beary about how UNIFIL is handling Hezbollah.

The argument began after Haley asked the UNIFIL commander if changes need to be made in order to deal with the situation along the border better in light of Hezbollah’s growing strength. Beary told Haley that the situation is contained and that there is no need to make any changes to UNIFIL’s strategy.

However, Kochavi disagreed with Beary and said that the IDF believes that changes need to be made in order to enable UNIFIL to deal with Hezbollah effectively. Kochavi explained that at the moment, UNIFIL does not enter the villages and towns where Hezbollah terrorists are located. The senior IDF officer also said that the terrorist organization is currently violating UN resolutions but UNIFIL cannot confront Hezbollah about the infringements because of the international force’s current directives.

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