UNSC renews UNIFIL's mandate in southern Lebanon

Under pressure from US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, the UN Security Council renewed the UNIFIL mandate in Lebanon. France had opposed the extension in the past. However, it seems that America's stance on the matter softened Paris' opposition.
Archive Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The UN Security Council has approved the extension of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force's mandate in southern Lebanon for another year. The proposal was advanced by the Israeli mission to the UN and with the support of US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

The decision to renew the mandate also included some changes regarding the international force. UNIFIL's presence in southern Lebanon will be significantly increased and the international force will be required to expand its activities by entering villages and towns when investigating Hezbollah's violations of UN resolutions. In addition, UNIFIL has been instructed that it needs to submit more reports regarding its missions and all Hezbollah violations need to be reported immediately.      

In the past, France had opposed the mandate's extension. However, it seems that the US-led pressure softened the country’s opposition.

During her visit to Israel in June, Haley witnessed an argument between Deputy IDF Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi and UNIFIL Commander Michael Beary regarding the international force’s methods of dealing with Hezbollah. During her tour of the Israeli-Lebanese border, Haley observed an IDF drill that was being conducted and 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 calm and that there is no need to make any changes to UNIFIL’s strategy.

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

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