NEW YORK – The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously renewed its peacekeeping mission in south Lebanon for another year, as tensions rise between Lebanon and Israel. “This renewal of UNIFIL was absolutely indispensable and essential for the security of Lebanon, Israel and the whole region,” said France’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Anne Gueguen, using an acronym for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon. “A united council on UNIFIL sends also an important, positive message of support to Lebanon.” The 10,500-strong mission monitors the demarcation line (known as the “Blue Line”) between Lebanon and its southern neighbor, Israel. It is also mandated to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces disarm groups like Hezbollah and enforce a U.N. arms embargo against nonstate actors receiving weapons. But in its most recent report, the U.N. said, “While taking allegations of arms transfers seriously, the United Nations is not in a position to substantiate them independently.” On disarming Hezbollah, the main military threat to both the Lebanese government and Israel, the U.N. said, “No progress was achieved,” adding, “Hezbollah continued to acknowledge publicly that it maintains military capabilities.” The group wields both substantial political and military power in Lebanon, mainly due to its substantial weapons arsenal,… Read full this story
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