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August 8, 2017 11:00 am

US Urges Expanded Role for UN Force in Lebanon to Restrain Hezbollah

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US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. Photo: Twitter. – US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on 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.

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

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres submitted a letter on 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.”

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Haley commended Guterres’ 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 UN leader to Israel later this month.

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