UNITED NATIONS (Apr. 13)
United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar has recommended in a report to the Security Council that the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) be extended for another six month period. The present mandate for the force expires on April 19.
“I am convinced that the maintenance of international peace and security requires that the force’s mandate be extended,” the Secretary General said. “If it were to be withdrawn there would be an immediate escalation of fighting in southern Lebanon, including fighting for control of positions at present occupied by UNIFIL.
“This fighting would probably lead to an increase in attacks against Israel and to an escalation of military action by Israel against Lebanon. A further major crisis could easily result.”
According to the Secretary General, the 5,825 troop peacekeeping force, which was established in 1978 to supervise the peace in south Lebanon, suffered 18 casualties from gunfire, including three dead, in the last six months.