UN renews mandate in Lebanon; warns of another war with Hezbollah

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday passed a unanimous resolution extending the mandate of its UNIFIL peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon by another year, and warned that violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement between Israel and Lebanon could lead to a new war.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon’s (UNIFIL) 15,000 troops, supported by international and local civilian staff, is posted in Lebanon to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group after the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

The UNSC warned that violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement between Israel and Lebanon could lead to a new war “that none of the parties or the region can afford.”

The council also expressed concern “at the limited progress made towards the establishment of a permanent cease-fire” between the two sides.

It called on both sides “to make every effort to ensure that the cessation of hostilities is sustained, exercise maximum calm and restraint and refrain from any action or rhetoric that could jeopardize the cessation of hostilities or destabilize the region.”

The resolution condemned “in the strongest terms all attempts to threaten the security and stability of Lebanon.”

The UNSC commended UNIFIL’s positive role for helping to establish “a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon” along with the Lebanese army.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that during the past decade, the border between Israel and Lebanon has “witnessed the longest period of relative calm in decades.”

Israel has experienced several isolated attacks from Hezbollah over the past 10 years and Hezbollah has significantly expanded its forces and rocket arsenal in preparation for a future attack on Israel.

While not seeking another conflict, the IDF has warned that an attack by Hezbollah on Israel would mean “devastating” consequences for Lebanon.

Ban underscored “that calm should not be mistaken for progress” on implementing the 2006 resolution which called for the disarming of all Lebanese militias, including Hezbollah, a demand that has so far been ignored.

“The violent and unstable regional context emphasizes the importance of tangible progress by the parties toward a permanent ceasefire, as envisaged in the resolution,” as well as ensuring that the cessation of hostilities is sustained, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has warned that Hezbollah continues to arm itself and build terror infrastructure in southern Lebanon, turning the local villages into terror strongholds.

By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report.