| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Security Council votes tomorrow to extend UNIFIL for a new year

UN Security Council’s member states will vote tomorrow, Tuesday, on a French draft resolution to extend for a new year, the mandate of the international force operating in the south “UNIFIL”, and a decision will be issued by the council at the end of the vote for this purpose.

Diplomatic sources told “Sawt Beirut International”, that the informal discussions during the past days between the member states, did not witness an escalation, exept for both Russia and China, which stood against that the new resolution should include the continuation of UNIFIL’s non-logistical assistance, even food and necessary materials of fuel and gas for the Lebanese army, as stipulated in the French draft resolution.

The two countries consider that they do not want a precedent of this kind entrusted to the peacekeeping forces in the world. And during the past hours, Russia recorded flexibility towards this issue, while China continued to be tough. However, diplomatic contacts are taking place to pass this point in the text of the resolution tomorrow without obstacles. And it is expected that the extension will take place without obstacles, especially with regard to the number of the force and its mission.

The sources confirmed that the reasons for the renewal of UNIFIL without difficulties lie in the following:

– Most of the Security Council’s countries, especially the five permanent members, do not want any “disruption” of the status quo in Lebanon, as do the countries participating in “UNIFIL”. The stability that exists in the south is required internationally, and no one in Lebanon or Israel want to change this “statis quo” as it suits all parties. And breaching it has a price for everyone and will have a heavy price.

– The international community does not want any amendments to the mission of the international force operating under Resolution 1701, but rather to preserve it as stipulated in this resolution. Everyone, including the countries participating in UNIFIL, will rectify any reaction if the issue of the amendment is raised, especially on the force’s performance and safety.

Any amendment to the point of strictness in its mission means placing it within the framework of Chapter VII. That is, to do its job by using force to control the presence and transfer of weapons. This is because its current job is to monitor calm and stability, according to Chapter VI, as resolution 1701 was considered implicit in Chapter Six and a half. The international community believes that the mission of the current force and its rules of engagement are sufficient to maintain international peace and security in the south, if fully implemented, with some operational expansion on the ground in specific details. The sufficiency of the force makes modifying its mission or changing it out of the question.

Any task that might include more stringency, need to open a new international debate and to issue a new resolution from the Security Council, and now is not the time, and does not constitute an international priority, in addition to the fact that Russia and China may stop it from happening. Because banning arms by force targets their ally, Iran, which is behind Hezbollah’s arms.

  • Sawt Beirut International