| 7 December 2023, Thursday |

What did the Lebanese negotiator achieve in the course of extending UNIFIL mandate ?

Western diplomatic sources told Sawt Beirut International that Lebanon has made significant progress in negotiating with UN Security Council members on a draft resolution submitted by France to extend UNIFIL mandate for another year, and that consultations are taking place between countries on the one hand, and Lebanon and member states on the other.

Lebanon is negotiating practically through its permanent delegation in New York. Meanwhile, Abdallah Bou Habib, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, will be in New York tomorrow, on Wednesday, to follow-up on these discussions. It should be noted that the final voting on the draft resolution in the Security Council will take place on August 31, after which the extension decision will be announced.

Western sources said that the consultations with the Lebanese side in New York this year are characterized by a specific character, as the acting permanent representative in New York was described as a “fierce negotiator with a velvet glove,”.

Western sources familiar with the negotiation plan adopted by the mission in New York indicated that the latter adopted the approach based on the following equation:

1- In negotiation, positions are subject to change according to intersections between countries.

2- Every country can offer something within its capabilities and within its national priorities.

The sources said that what helped achieve major amendments in the draft, which was not easy to reach, is the policy of dialogue and intensive communication adopted by Lebanon with all parties and relying within what is known as soft power, on what captures the attention of each country in order to achieve gains from it. For Lebanon in the draft, and for each country to understand that it is an essential partner in itself for Lebanon within the Council and its strong voice in its closed sessions on UNIFIL. We point out that the Lebanese delegation cannot attend these sessions because they are closed, hence the importance of the intensive consultations that the mission is carrying out in the corridors and bilaterally with various delegations to convey Lebanon’s point of view, proposals and amendments to the draft through the channels of the 15 countries present at these sessions.

It is worth noting that Lebanon’s position on the renewal of UNIFIL was expressed by the Mission’s Chargé d’Affaires, Ms. Jean Murad, at the Security Council session on the Middle East last month, when he expressed Lebanon’s gratitude to France, the pen holder, and all Security Council member states, as well as the official Lebanese authorities, for their full readiness to work together to achieve common goals.

First, by preserving the stability and security of the southern region along the Blue Line.

Second, safeguarding the security and safety of the peacekeeping forces and holding the aggressors accountable, as well as preserving the atmosphere of harmony and friendliness prevailing between these forces and the people of the region.

Third, preserving UNIFIL’s freedom of movement to implement its mandate, in coordination with the Lebanese army, in accordance with the spirit of the Headquarters Agreement and Resolution No. 1701, without modification in the concept of its operations and its rules of engagement.

  • Sawt Beirut International