Security Council to Vote on Unifil Extension

The Security Council, which convened here last night to discuss the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Lebanon’s complaint that Israel shells Lebanese villages, will continue its deliberations tomorrow when a vote is expected. Members of the Council held private consultations today in order to reach an acceptable resolution. The current mandate of UNIFIL expires June 19.

Ambassador Yehuda Blum of Israel charged in his address last night that “The PLO weakened UNIFIL’s effectiveness by infiltrating several hundred of its terrorists into the area under UNIFIL control and also by challenging it directly, with growing intensity in recent months. “But Israel, Blum declared, will continue to cooperate with the force since UNIFIL “fulfills a useful function. The crucial question, Blum maintained, was whether there will be an end, once and for all, to the use of Lebanese territory for acts of aggression against Israel, and to what extent UNIFIL will be instrumental in this. The Israeli envoy reiterated Israel’s support of Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “The government of Israel wants peace in and with Lebanon,” he said.

UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim warned the Security Council last night that unless certain essential conditions are fulfilled, UNIFIL will not be able to continue its operation. These conditions, Waldheim said, include an end to the harassment of the civilian population and UNIFIL, personnel by the de facto forces (Christian militia), a change in the position of the Israeli authorities and the continued cooperation of the PLO. Waldheim called on Israel to permit full deployment of UNIFIL in the area.

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