The UN Security Council has extended the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one more year, acknowledging that the situation in the country continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security.
Unanimously adopted by 15-member body, resolution 2236 (2015) extends the UNIFIL mandate until 31 August 2016, without any changes in deployment.
The UN body called upon all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities, to prevent any violation of the Blue Line and to respect it ‘in its entirety.’
Also called the Line of Withdrawal, the Blue Line was established in 2000 to confirm the withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces from Lebanon in conformity with Security Council resolution 425.
Initially created in March 1978, the UNIFIL is responsible to ensure that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River in southern Lebanon is free of unauthorised weapons, personnel, and assets.
The force also cooperates with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) so as to enable them to fulfil their security responsibilities, and continues to monitor and report on ground and air violations.
The resolution expresses ‘deep concern’ at all violations in connection with resolution 1701, especially the ‘serious disruption’ of the cessation of hostilities that occurred on 28 January this year.
In addition, the UN body called on the international community to support the LAF in areas where they critically require assistance, including counter-terrorism and border protection.
The Israeli Government has also been urged to accelerate the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL.
The resolution requests for cooperation with UNIFIL to make progress towards long-term agreements as envisioned in Council resolution 1701 (2006), that ended the flare-up of violence in that year.
Image: Blue Line was established to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from Lebanon. Photo: courtesy of UNIFIL.