UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 14)
Secretary General Kurt Waldheim recommended to the Security Council today the renewal of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mandate for a further six-month period. The present mandate of the 6,000-man force expires Sept. 18.
But Waldheim warned, in a written report on UNIFIL, that “the existence of UNIFIL must not be allowed to become the pretext for a delay in achieving the objectives of the Security Council’s original decisions,” calling for the establishment of the Lebanese government’s authority in south Lebanon.
Waldheim said that “the situation in southern Lebanon is very closely linked to the formidable problems of Lebanon as a whole. Without an amelioration of those problems, it will be extremely difficult fully to carry out the UNIFIL mandate in southem Lebanon.” Waldheim also noted that Lebanon’s problems could not be settled without general settlement of the Mideast conflict.
But he stressed that the present situation in Lebanon is unacceptable. “The resistance of certain armed groups to its (UNIFIL) full deployment and the support from outside which these groups are known to enjoy combined with the resulting difficulties experienced by the Lebanese government in exerting its authority in the UNIFIL area of operation, constitute formidable obstacles to the implementation of the mandate of UNIFIL,” Waldheim said.
His criticism was understood to be against the Israeli-backed Christian militia in south Lebanon.
Waldheim also charged that “the fact that Israel Defense Forces handed over control of the border area to the de facto (Christian) armed groups, rather than to UNIFIL, has continued to make impossible the full deployment of UNIFIL.”
In another written report yesterday, the Secretary General’s Report on the Work of the Organization, Waldheim warned that UNIFIL might be compelled to use force in south Lebanon. “I hope that this stage will not be reached in southern Lebanon, and that all concerned will be persuaded that their best interests lie in the restored authority and effectiveness of the Government of Lebanon and in cooperation with peace keeping forces of the United Nations in fulfilment of the decisions of the Security Council,” Waldheim said.