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Unifil Mandate Extended

The 15-member United Nations Security Council has for the first time unanimously approved a six-month extension of the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force in south Lebanon.

The government of Lebanon had requested an extension of the mandate, which was granted last Friday, through January 18, 1987. The 5,800-troop force is commonly referred to as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL.

Last April, the Security Council extended the force’s mandate for three months. At that time, the Soviet Union and Bulgaria voted for the first time in favor of the mandate extension. The Soviet bloc members of the Council traditionally abstain in the voting.

The eight-year-old UN force consists of troops representing Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Nepal, Norway and Sweden. The force’s precarious financial status has placed it recently under the close scrutiny of UN member-states.