Lebanon’s caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib has insisted that the land border with Israel must be demarcated if clashes are to be prevented in future. Bou Habib made his comment as he expressed his country’s satisfaction with the final version of the UN Security Council resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeepers.
The minister said in a television interview that the final wording of the resolution renewing the UNIFIL mandate guarantees that there will be no friction between UNIFIL forces and residents, but the border must be defined. He added that Lebanon has spoken with US envoy Amos Hochstein about this matter, and that the latter promised to discuss the issue with the Israelis.
The final vote on the mandate last Thursday was a majority of 13 votes and one abstention. During the council meeting about the UNIFIL, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya called on the unified command of the peacekeeping forces to continue to coordinate actively with the Lebanese government.
The UNIFIL mission was established in 1978 ostensibly to ensure Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. However, it still occupies Lebanese territory, notably the village of Ghajar, the Shebaa Farms and the Kfar Chouba Hills.