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Cablegate: Unifil Tcc Meeting: Dpko Again Highlights

VZCZCXRO3019
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUCNDT #0768/01 2262049
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 142049Z AUG 09
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7075
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000768

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO UN IS LE
SUBJECT: UNIFIL TCC MEETING: DPKO AGAIN HIGHLIGHTS
HIZBALLAH ARMS CACHE EXPLOSION AND OBSTRUCTIONS OF MOVEMENT

REF: USUN NEW YORK 721

1. (SBU) Summary: On August 13, Assistant Secretary-General
for Peacekeeping Operations Mulet briefed Security Council
members and troop contributing countries (TCCs) in a private
meeting on the July 14 explosion of an arms cache in
southern Lebanon and obstruction of UNIFIL's movement and
initial investigation. The briefing was nearly identical to
Under Secretary-General Alain Le Roy's briefing to Council
members in consultations on July 23. Mullet said the cache
represented a clear violation of UNSCR 1701, that the arms
were in "good order" and actively maintained, and that the
evidence indicates the arms were Hizballah's. Mulet said
UNIFIL fully complied with its mandate during the Khirbat
Selim incident and stressed that it had worked in tandem with
the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) during the entire time of the
incident and the subsequent investigation. Mulet highlighted
UNIFIL's forthcoming comprehensive review and that the
Maritime Task Force is stretched to its limit. End Summary.

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2. (SBU) On August 13, Security Council members and UNIFIL
troop contributing countries (TCCs) met in a private meeting
in advance of the Security Council's August 20 consultation
on UNIFIL's mandate renewal. Assistant Secretary-General for
Peacekeeping Operations Edmund Mulet briefed on the July 14
explosion of an arms cache in southern Lebanon at Khirbat
Selim and the obstruction of UNIFIL's movement and
investigation near the site. The briefing was nearly
identical to Under Secretary-General Alain Le Roy's briefing
to Council members in consultations on July 23 (reftel).
Mulet said the cache represented a clear violation of UNSCR
1701, that the arms were in "good order" and actively
maintained, and there were indications that they were under
the control of Hizballah.

3. (SBU) Mulet also noted that on July 18, 14 UNIFIL
peacekeepers were lightly injured when over 100 civilians
obstructed UNIFIL's access to a suspicious house one
kilometer from the Khirbat Selim site and that the crowd
included members of Hizballah. Mulet also briefed on the
events leading to the Blue Line violation by Lebanese
civilians in the vicinity of Kfar Shouba on July 17. TCC
Qatar raised IDF activities in the Shebaa Farms area which
Lebanese civilians had protested on July 17. Mulet responded
that the Shebaa Farms area is south of the Blue Line and
outside of UNIFIL's area of operations. Nevertheless, UNIFIL
had contacted the parties, he said, and urged maximum
restraint. Mulet noted that the IDF had removed immediately
(and before the July 17 protest) the flags which had caused
concern. TCC Qatar also asked about progress on mine
clearance. Mulet noted that 280 sites that are more than 500
meters from known strike locations have been identified from
the cluster munitions data provided in May by Israel. These
sites now must be surveyed.

4. (SBU) When asked by TCC India if UNIFIL had complied with
its mandate during the Khirbat Selim incident, Mulet
responded that UNIFIL had fully complied with its mandate
since it had worked in tandem with the Lebanese Armed Forces
(LAF) during the entire time of the incident and the
subsequent investigation. Mulet noted, however, that UNIFIL
does have the ability to independently carry out tasks to
make sure the area of operations is not used for hostile
means.

5. (SBU) Mulet highlighted UNIFIL's forthcoming
comprehensive review, announced in the Secretary-General's
August 6 letter to Council members. He said it would be an
assessment of the force structure, assets, and requirements,
and underlined when questioned by TCC India, that it would
not include a review of UNIFIL's mandate or concept of
operations. France asked Mulet for the LAF's troop levels in
the area of operations since in 2006 the Council had
anticipated there would be 15,000 troops in the area. Mulet
said that while they did not have the exact figures there
were three LAF brigades in the area, totaling approximately
5,000 troops.

6. (SBU) Mulet followed up on the summary of the Maritime
Task Force (MTF) in the Secretary-General's August 6 letter.
He underscored that the MTF is stretched to its limit with
only seven of the required twelve vessels. He did note that
Indonesia does plan to contribute an additional corvette
class vessel. He thanked Belgium and France for their recent
leadership tours of the MTF and said Germany would be
assuming the lead on September 1 for a three-month period.
He issued an appeal for TCCs to make more maritime assets
available which was echoed by Italy.


USUN NEW Y 00000768 002 OF 002


7. Note: The following countries contribute troops to
UNIFIL: Belgium, Brunei, China, Croatia, Cyprus, El Salvador,
France, FYR of Macedonia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala,
Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal,
Qatar, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Spain,
Tanzania, and Turkey. End Note.
RICE

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