WASHINGTON - The Security Council unanimously authorized the extension of UNIFIL's mandate in south Lebanon for another year. Israeli and Lebanese representatives welcomed the decision.
A Lebanese representative made do with a declaration of his country's full commitment to holdup UN Resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War, while an Israeli representative warned against the threat of Hezbollah's rearmament with weapons from Iran and Syria.
Israel's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Haim Waxman said during the hearing on the extension that Israel appreciates and praises the UNIFIL forces' contribution to the region. He called upon the forces to act firmly and with determination within the framework of the mandate granted them in order to ensure that the area of south Lebanon is clean of weapons other than those belonging to UNIFIL and the Lebanese military.
Though the extension of the UN peacekeeping forces was nearly automatic, Israel asked during the discussion of the mandate that the Security Council increase its hold in south Lebanon and fulfill UN Resolution 1701 on the disarmament of Hezbollah.
Waxman said that the rearmament of Hezbollah and the weapons, training, and financial support the organization receives from Syria and Iran is a gross violation of Resolution 1701. He also called upon the Lebanese military to act responsibly and distinguish itself clearly from radical elements.
Following the border skirmish in which the Lebanese military opened fire while the IDF trimmed a tree from the no-man's zone along the border, UNIFIL published a report last week ruling that the tree was indeed within Israeli territory. In doing so, UNIFIL confirmed the conclusion deduced a short time after the incident.
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