Cablegate: Unsc: Council Calls for Unifil Renewal; Majority

DE RUCNDT #0788/01 2362323
O 242323Z AUG 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 86628

1. (SBU) Summary: On August 20, Assistant Secretary-General
for Peacekeeping Operations Mulet briefed the Security
Council in consultations on UNIFIL. He highlighted the
Hizballah arms cache explosion at Khirbet Selim, as he and
other DPKO officials have to the Council on previous
occasions (refs B and C). He reiterated the
Secretary-General's recommendation that the Council extend
UNIFIL's mandate for another 12 months. Council members
unanimously agreed with the recommendation to extend the
mandate. The majority of Council members again voiced
concern about the July events in Khirbet Selim and the
impingement on UNIFIL's freedom of movement during the
investigation. Several members called for determined action
by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to ensure that there are
no arms, armed elements, or weapons smuggled into the area
south of the Litani River. The Libyan DPR was alone in
trying to excuse the Khirbet Selim incident, justifying the
presence of arms because of daily Israeli air violations and
the "Israeli network of spies" and characterizing Hizballah
presence in the area as "natural" given Hizballah's close
cooperation with the LAF. Almost all Council members touched
on Israel's continued overflights and need to withdraw from
northern Ghajar. Council members welcomed the Secretariat's
planned assessment of UNIFIL and called for the Council to be
briefed on the results. End summary.

DPKO again highlights Hizballah arms
cache; calls for UNIFIL renewal

2. (SBU) Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping
Operations Edmond Mulet briefed the Council in consultations
on August 20 on UNIFIL. He reiterated the
Secretary-General's recommendation from his August 6, 2009
letter to the Council that UNIFIL's mandate should be
extended for another 12 months. (Note: USUN e-mailed the
Secretary-General's letter to IO/PSC and IO/UNP. End note.)
Mulet summarized UNIFIL's initial findings about the July 14
arms cache explosion at Khirbet Selim, which were consistent
with Under Secretary-General LeRoy's briefing to the Council
on July 23 (ref C) and Mulet's own briefing to the Council
and Troop Contributors (TCCs) on August 13 (ref B). He said
that the weapons dated from the 1970s to 1990s and were in
good working order. He again said there was evidence that
the arms depot was actively maintained and under the control
of Hizballah. Mulet noted that the Khirbet Selim area has
since "returned to normal" and that tensions had declined in
the Kfar Shouba area. He announced that the Israel Defense
Forces (IDF) had dismantled on August 17 the watchtower and
concrete block base which had provoked the protest and Blue
Line violation by Lebanese civilians and parliamentarians on
July 17. (Note: DPKO staffer told PolOff August 19 that the
Israeli action does not quite represent a return to the
status quo ante since a tank position berm remains in place,
but this matter is outside UNIFIL's area of operations since
it is on the south side of the Blue Line. End note.)

UNIFIL - troop configuration
and MTF update, assessment

3. (SBU) Mulet reiterated from the Secretary-General's
letter that Malaysia deployed one additional infantry company
of 150 personnel at the end of July and Indonesia and Nepal
are scheduled to each deploy one infantry company of 150
personnel over the next two months. He also said a
multi-role logistics company would be deployed to replace the
Polish troops which are scheduled to withdraw by October
2009. In terms of the Maritime Task Force (MTF), he noted
that only seven of the 12 required vessels are available. As
a result, he announced, the Lebanese Navy has become more
involved in the hailing and boarding of vessels at sea, both
during the day and at night, which is an important step
forward so that they can assume greater control over their
territorial waters. He underscored the Lebanese Navy's need
for several large vessels. He repeated the
Secretary-General's announcement from his August 6 letter
that DPKO and UNIFIL would undertake an assessment of
UNIFIL's capacity to ensure that resources match requirements.

Actions needed from parties
and international community

4. (SBU) Mulet stressed the work that remains to be done.
He called for ground violations of the Blue Line to cease,

USUN NEW Y 00000788 002 OF 003

for Israel to withdraw from northern Ghajar and to cease its
air violations, for Lebanon to intensify its efforts south of
the Litani River to discover and remove weapons, make sure
there are no armed elements in that area, prevent the
possible smuggling of weapons across the Litani river, and
ensure UNIFIL's full freedom of movement. He called on the
international community to support the development of the
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) so that it can fulfill its
responsibilities down to the Blue Line and in its territorial
waters and to step up efforts to find a political solution.
He stressed that UNIFIL cannot be a substitute for the peace

Council members unanimously
call for UNIFIL renewal

5. (SBU) Council members in consultations unanimously voiced
support for the extension of UNIFIL's mandate for another 12
months. The French Perm Rep said France would soon submit a
draft mandate renewal resolution for the Council's
consideration which would reaffirm the Council's support for
UNIFIL, renew the mandate without changes, press the parties
to implement UNSCR 1701, and address the latest violations.
(Note: Adoption of the mandate extension resolution is
scheduled for August 27. End note.) The Russian DPR
specifically commented that UNIFIL's current mandate is
appropriate, and the Libyan DPR said that the current mandate
is the "maximum ceiling." The Turkish DPR underlined that
UNIFIL is a priority for Turkey and it will continue its land
and maritime component contributions, noting that the Turkish
corvette will be replaced by a frigate in October.

Majority of Council again voice
concern about Khirbet Selim

6. (SBU) The French and UK Perm Reps reiterated concern
about the events in Khirbet Selim, including the presence of
arms south of the Litani River and the impingement on
UNIFIL's freedom of movement. (Note: Ambassador Rice
delivered points drawn from ref A. End note.) The French
Perm Rep called on UNIFIL and the LAF to work together "so
the events of July are not repeated," for the parties to show
restraint, and for the Secretary-General and the parties to
work on a long-term political solution. The Japanese Charge
said that Japan was gravely concerned by the July 14 arms
cache explosion, particularly the fact that the depot was
actively maintained. The Austrian DPR and Costa Rican DPR
called for determined action by the LAF to ensure that there
are no arms, armed elements, or weapons smuggled into the
area south of the Litani River. The Austrian DPR also called
for immediate respect of the arms embargo and control of the
Lebanese-Syrian border and for the full freedom of movement
of UNIFIL personnel, stressing that this was the LAF's

7. (SBU) The Costa Rican DPR said that the LAF needs to
address the issue of Hizballah without exception, stressing
that it is a grave issue for the region as a whole. The
Croatian Charge said that by maintaining a substantial
military capacity, Hizballah is undermining the Lebanese
state and called for the disarmament of all armed groups
outside of the control of the State. The Turkish DPR said
Turkey welcomed the investigation into the latest incidents
and looked forward to learning its conclusions. The Mexican
Perm Rep said that if the findings of the preliminary
investigation are confirmed, then it would be a clear
violation of UNSCR 1701 and it should be condemned with the
same vigor as are Israeli violations. The Russian DPR
stressed that Russia "does not support attempts to classify
violations." He stressed that there should not be any
violations by any side and that Russia was passing that
signal to all of the parties. The Croatian Charge said that
violations should be condemned no matter who commits them.

Libya tries to excuse
Khirbet Selim incident

8. (SBU) The Libyan DPR's comments were strikingly different
on the Khirbet Selim incident. He said that since the
investigation is still ongoing, no one should jump to any
conclusions since anything is possible, given the region. He
did, however, say, without offering any evidence, that the
arms were not smuggled into the area post-2006. He
attributed the presence of the arms in the area of operations
to the distrust on the Lebanese side because of daily Israeli
air violations and the Israeli "network of spies." He
characterized Hizballah's presence in the area during the

USUN NEW Y 00000788 003 OF 003

incident as "natural" given that Hizballah is a recognized
resistance movement that cooperates closely with the LAF.

Calls for Israel to cease
overflights and withdraw from Ghajar

9. (SBU) Almost all Council members touched on Israel's
continued overflights and need to withdraw from northern
Ghajar. The Libyan DPR called for the Council to deal with
Israeli violations "as a priority." The Chinese DPR called
specifically for respect of Lebanon's territorial integrity
and sovereignty, called on Israel to cease its overflights
and withdraw from Ghajar, and called for the parties to do
more to address Sheb'a.

Council welcomes UNIFIL assessment

10. (SBU) The Japanese Charge welcomed the Secretariat's
assessment of UNIFIL and said it was "most appropriate to
make the best use of limited assets." He also appealed to
member states to pay promptly their peacekeeping budget
assessments. The Chinese DPR called for the
Secretary-General to brief the Council on the results of the
assessment. The Vietnamese DPR called for the assessment to
be carefully planned with the TCCs to ensure efficiency. The
UK Council President voiced support for the "review of
UNIFIL's effectiveness" and asked that it include the
Maritime Task Force "where there are different views of its
added value."

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