US urges expanded role for UN force in Lebanon to restrain Hezbollah


( U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley Monday urged the world body’s peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon to increase its efforts to prevent the transfer of weapons to the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley addresses a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, April 27. Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.

Haley’s statement came ahead of a U.N. Security Council vote later this month to renew the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres submitted a letter Friday to the Security Council expressing his desire to disarm “all armed groups in Lebanon,” and recommending a renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate.

Guterres also conveyed a need to “enhance” the peacekeeping force’s efforts against “the illegal presence of armed personnel, weapons or infrastructure inside its area of operations.”

Haley commended Guterres’s statement, saying, “We share the secretary-general’s strong desire to enhance UNIFIL’s efforts to prevent the spread of illegal arms in southern Lebanon.”

She added, “These arms—which are almost entirely in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists—threaten the security and stability of the region. UNIFIL must increase its capacity and commitment to investigating and reporting these violations.”

Guterres is expected to address the subject of UNIFIL’s mission in Lebanon during his first visit as U.N. leader to Israel and the disputed territories later this month.

Posted on August 8, 2017 .