Security Council renews mandate of UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon for another year

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The UN Security Council Monday voted to renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon for another year, Beirut’s envoy to the UN said.

“The UN Security Council just voted unanimously to renew the mandate of UNIFIL in Lebanon after difficult negotiations. Good news 4 UNIFIl, for it Lebanese partner the LAF, and for peace and security. Thanks to all SC members for their support esp France the pen holder,” Amal Mudallali tweeted.

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The US and Israel have long advocated for altering UNIFIL’s mandate due to Hezbollah’s violations of UNSC resolutions. Proposed changes previously have included a troop reduction and reducing the length of the mandate to six months.

Around 10,000 peacekeeping troops and another 900 civilians make up the force, which was initially formed to ensure the withdrawal of Israeli forces after they invaded Lebanon in 1978.

After the July 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, the mandate saw an increase in the number of troops to a maximum of 15,000.

Last year’s mandate saw the maximum number of UN troops decreased to 13,000, although that number is well short of the current level of troops in Lebanon.

But this year saw little opposition from within the Security Council, according to diplomats familiar with the discussions.

A few changes were made in some phrases, which the Lebanese side considered counterproductive, the sources told Al Arabiya English.

France and Ireland played critical roles in advocating for the renewal.

But one noticeable change was the paragraph dealing with temporary and special measures to support the Lebanese Armed Forces with non-lethal material. This support includes fuel, food, medicine, and logistical support.

The period for this aid was reduced to six months rather than 12 after opposition from one of the voting members.

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