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Cablegate: Unsc Unanimously Extends Unifil's Mandate

VZCZCXRO0107
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUCNDT #0779 2402249
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 272249Z AUG 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4874
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000779

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER KPKO UNSC LE SY IS
SUBJECT: UNSC UNANIMOUSLY EXTENDS UNIFIL'S MANDATE

REF: STATE 91898

1. (SBU) The UN Security Council unanimously approved
resolution 1832 on August 27 to extend the mandate of the
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until August
31, 2009. (Note: The full text of the resolution is
contained in reftel and can be found on the UN website. End
note.) France, Belgium, Croatia, Italy, the UK, and the U.S.
co-sponsored the resolution. South Africa objected to its
designation as a Presidential text (essentially co-sponsored
by all 15 members). No council members provided explanations
of vote (EOVs). Both Israel and Lebanon spoke after the
vote.

2. (SBU) Israeli Acting Perm Rep Ambassador Danny Carmon
expressed Israel's appreciation to the troop contributing
countries and to UNIFIL and all of its components. He said
that Israel welcomes the extension of UNIFIL's mandate and
recognizes the important role it plays maintaining an area
free of armed assets, aside from those belonging to UNIFIL
and the Lebanese Armed Forces. He referenced the Secretary
General's last 1701 report, which highlighted the challenges
facing UNIFIL. He said that transfers of weapons from Iran
and Syria to areas both north and south of the Litani River
challenge UNIFIL's operations. He noted that last year's
report of the Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team
(LIBAT) spoke for itself and expressed certainty that this
year's report would do the same. He emphasized the danger
that hostile groups who observe and monitor UNIFIL's
activities pose to the region's peace and stability and to
the safety of UNIFIL's personnel. Though he did not
explicitly reference the 12th preambular paragraph of last
year's renewal resolution (UNSCR 1773), he essentially
restated that language by urging UNIFIL to take all necessary
action to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized
for hostile activities and to resist attempts to prevent it
from discharging its mandate. He specifically declared that
the Lebanese government's new policy guidelines complicate
UNIFIL's ability to execute its mandate since, instead of
calling for the disarmament of armed groups, the new
guidelines implicitly back one of those groups -- Hizballah.
In closing, he stressed that the Israeli government remains
committed to the fulfillment of UNSCR 1701, particularly
through the tripartite mechanism.

3. (SBU) Lebanese Perm Rep Ambassador Nawaf Salam lauded the
Council for renewing UNIFIL's mandate and commended UNIFIL
and its commander for their work. He noted the approaching
second anniversary of UNSCR 1701 and emphasized the Lebanese
government's continued commitment to the full implementation
of UNSCR 1701, as evidenced by the continued deployment of
the Lebanese Armed Forces in the area of operations. He then
went on to list how 1701 remains unimplemented as a result of
Israeli action or inaction: through Israel's daily violations
of Lebanese airspace, through its non-hand-over of maps of
cluster bomb munitions, through its non-withdrawal from
northern Ghajar, and through the lack of a solution to the
Sheba'a Farms question. He said that there was no question
which party was obstructing the full implementation of 1701.
He asked why Israeli Defense Minister Barak had not met with
the UNIFIL Force Commander. He said that the Lebanese
government viewed with alarm the recent verbal threats by
Israeli leaders towards Lebanon which had prompted Lebanese
Prime Minister Siniora to write to the Secretary General on
August 22, 2008. (Note: USUN e-mailed a copy of Prime
Minister Siniora's letter to IO/UNP on August 26. End note.)
For all these reasons, Salam said the Lebanese government
was thankful for the renewal of UNIFIL's mandate.
Wolff

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