On 22 October 2013, the Security Council met for its quarterly public debate on the Middle East, with Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN, and Mr. Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel.
The Representative of France called on the international community to increase its assistance to Lebanon, which is now hosting over 1.5 Syrian refugees and face increased security challenges, as well as a political, institutional and economic crisis. Finally, he welcomed the launch of the International Support Group for Lebanon, arguing that it was essential to continue the mobilization to help the country to face this global crisis.
On 29 August 2013 the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved resolution 2115 which renews UNIFIL’s mandate until 31 August 2014.
On 22 August 2013, the Security Council met in closed consultations to hear the report of Mr. Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations, on the situation in Lebanon and UNIFIL activities. During his intervention, Mr. Mulet underlined the continued violations of resolution 1701 by Israel and some Lebanese groups.
During these consultations, the representative of France deplored the violations of the Lebanese airspace by Israeli forces. He also condemned the rockets targeting Israel that were launched in the morning, which he described as unacceptable. He said the involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict seriously undermined the stability of the country. He called on all Lebanese parties to support the policy of dissociation defended by President Sleimane.
The representative of France also highlighted the essential role of UNIFIL in maintaining peace and stability in Lebanon and announced France would circulate a draft resolution to allow the renewing of the mandate of UNIFIL.
On 20 August 2013, Mr. Oscar Fernandez Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, presented his report on the situation in the Middle East to the members of the Security Council. He described the recent attacks in Roueiss, which killed 24 people and injured more than 300 others, as the deadliest attacks in the country since 2005. He expressed his deep concern over the number of foiled attacks in Lebanon within the past few months, reflecting a volatile security situation.
During the consultations that followed, the representative of France stressed the importance for all Lebanese parties to respect the Baabda agreements and Lebanon’s policy of disassociation defended by President Sleimane. He also called for the mobilization of the international community to increase its assistance to Lebanon, which now hosts more than one million Syrian refugees. Finally, he said that France would fully support all the steps that would ensure the cohesion of the Lebanese population, foster dialogue, and the formation of a new government and the holding of parliamentary elections.
On 15 August 2013, the Security Council issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attack that occurred in South Beirut, which killed at least 10 people and wounded more than 100.
On 9 July 2013, the Security Council met in closed session to hear MM. Plumbly, Special Envoy for Lebanon, and Ladsous, Under Secretary General for peacekeeping Operations, present situation in the country and in the area of deployment of UNIFIL. On this occasion, the Council members agreed on a presidential statement, initiated by France, reaffirming their support to the policy of dissociation from the Syrian conflict led by the Lebanese authorities. The Representative of France made remarks to the press on that matter.
The Council also adopted a statement to the press condemning the attacks that struck Beirut that same day.
On 25 June 2013, Mr. Oscar Fernandez-Tarranco, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, presented to the Security Council the Secretariat’s monthly report on the situation in the Middle East. He particularly emphasized the destabilizing effects of the crisis in Syria on the internal situation of Lebanon.
During the following private consultations, the representative of France stressed the need for a collective support to institutions of the Lebanese State, key to the stability of the country, and to the respect of the policy of dissociation, as recalled by President Suleiman to all parties.
On 8 May 2013, while briefing the Security Council behind closed doors, Mr Roed-Larsen, Secretary-General Special Envoy for Lebanon, regretted the lack of significant steps in the implementation of resolution 1559.
The representative of France expressed grave concerns on the consequences of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon’s stability, especially the threat posed by the influx of Syrian refugees. The Security Council had to support the Lebanese Armed Forces to guarantee the dissociation policy of President Sleiman.
The complete timeline of events here.
France traditionally enjoys favorable relations with Lebanon. French involvement in Lebanon is characterized as much by strong economic and cultural cooperation as by political support.
"France remains fully committed to the strengthening of the unity, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability of the country in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council, particularly resolution 1701", as reiterated by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in the wake of the parliamentary elections held on 7 June 2009.
This commitment is notably demonstrated through the French participation in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). UNIFIL was created by Security Council Resolutions 425 and 426(1978). It was deployed in 1978.
UNIFIL’s mandate and personnel were strengthened and extended by resolution 1701, adopted on 11 August 2006. This resolution put an end to the month-long hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and set the parameters for a lasting cease-fire. UNIFIL, in this context, plays a key role in supporting the Lebanese army.
The primary mission of the Force is to monitor the cessation of hostilities and respect the Blue Line, as well as to assist the deployment of Lebanese Armed Forces in the south (effective from autumn 2006) and restore their authority in these areas.
UNIFIL’s troop ceiling was raised to 15,000 by resolution 1701. It has almost 11,000 personnel (March 2013). France, with almost 1,000 troops, is one of the biggest contributors after Indonesia (1,200 men) and Italy (1,100 men).
The mandate of the force was renewed by the Security Council until 30 August 2013, with resolution 2064.
There is another peacekeeping operation deployed in the region : the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights were conquered by Israel in 1967 from Syria. UNDOF was established in 1974 to monitor the cease-fire following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. The force has about one thousand personnel. The UNDOF mandate is renewed every six months by a resolution of the Security Council, whose text has remained unchanged for many years, and which calls on parties to "immediately implement resolution 338" of 1973.
Resolution 1757 (2007) created the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to prosecute those responsible for the attack of 14 February 2005 which resulted in the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. France welcomed the commencement of the Tribunal’s work on 1 March 2009. According to the resolution, the progress of work of the Special Court will be reviewed within three years after its establishment (ie before March 2012), in consultation with the Security Council. The duration of its activities will be extended if necessary.
France has contributed €7 million to the budget of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon since its creation (including €1.5 million in 2013).
In resolution 1559 adopted in September 2004, the Security Council "reaffirms its call for the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon throughout Lebanon". It "calls upon all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon", and "calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias".
Resolution 1559 was reaffirmed by resolution 1680 (May 2006), which calls on Syria to help Lebanon to demarcate its borders and to establish full diplomatic relations with Lebanon. It also recalls the need to carry out the disarmament of militias in Lebanon and calls for an end to arms trafficking.
The situation in Lebanon is frequently examined in the Security Council:
— The Security Council holds quarterly public debates on the "Situation in the Middle East", as well as monthly consultations, where issues related to Lebanon are regularly raised (see our file on Israel and Palestinian territories).
— Every four months, the Secretary-General produces a report on the implementation of resolution 1701, which is discussed in private consultations.
— Every six months, the Secretary-General produces a report on the implementation of resolution 1559, which is discussed in private consultations.
— The Council may also hold meetings on Lebanon as required by the situation on the ground.
Lebanon joined the Security Council as an elected member on 1 January 2010 until 31 December 2011.
22 October 2013 - Security Council - Situation in the Middle East - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
10 July 2013 - Lebanon - Remarks to the press by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
24 April 2013 – Security Council - Situation in the Middle-East – Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
24 October 2011 - Security Council - Debate on the Middle East - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
All French Statements here
Read all the statements by France at the Security Council under the Agenda Item "Situation in the Middle East" in our file on Israel - Palestinian Territories
29 August 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2115 renewing UNIFIL’s mandate until 31 August 2014
15 August 2013 - Security Council - Press statement - Terrorist attack South Beirut
10 July 2013 - Security Council - Press statement
10 July 2013 - Security Council - Presidential statement
14 March 2013 - Security Council - Press statement
19 October 2012 - Security Council press statement - condemning a terrorist attack in Beirut
30 August 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2064 renewing for one year UNIFIL’s mandate
30 August 2011 - Resolution 2004 - renewing the mandate of UNIFIL for one year
30 August 2010 - Resolution 1937
3 August 2010 - Serious incidents along the blue line between Israel and Lebanon - Statement by Mr. Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
27 August 2009 - Resolution 1884 (2009) - renews UNIFIL’s mandate until 31 August 2010
30 May 2007 - Resolution 1757 (2007)
11 August 2006 - Resolution 1701 (2006)
17 May 2006 - Resolution 1680
2 September 2004 - Resolution 1559 (2004)