UN chief welcomes renewal of mandate of peacekeeping force in Lebanon

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday welcomed the renewal of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon.

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2373 on Wednesday, extending the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a year, till Aug. 31, 2018.

"The secretary-general reiterates that UNIFIL, in close cooperation with the Lebanese armed forces, will continue to enhance its operational activities to effectively implement its mandate," said Guterres's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, in a statement.

The secretary-general emphasized the need for the parties to build on the prevailing calm in southern Lebanon, to focus on the goal of a permanent cease-fire and to act proactively to address all outstanding issues between Lebanon and Israel, said the statement. UNIFIL is ready to lend its full support to the parties in this process, it said.

Guterres thanked the troop-contributing countries and expressed his confidence in the leadership and staff of the mission.

Guterres' position is in contrast with that of the United States. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, attacked UNIFIL for failing to reach its goal.

The "interim" UN force dates back to 1978. The mission was expanded after the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah to allow Lebanese troops to have access to the country's south.

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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