Less troops, more powers for UNIFIL in extension by Security Council

The UN Security Council on Friday extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, but also cut its maximum size from 15,000 to 13,000. The French-drafted measure called on the Lebanese government to facilitate “prompt and full access” to sites requested by UN peacekeepers for investigation, including tunnels crossing the UN-drawn Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel.  US Ambassador Kelly Craft said in a statement after the vote. “The Trump Administration is deeply concerned these last years about UNIFIL´s overall inability to contain the Hezbollah menace. We are not going to allow this to stand.”  Israel’s ambassador sent a letter to UNSC members demanding significant changes in UNIFIL’s mandate. “There is no justification for having an ineffective force operate in territory in which Hezbollah is using to arm itself and turn southern Lebanon into a terrorist base.”



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