Lebanon's UNIFIL renewal challenges in New York

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2023-08-26 | 12:28
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Lebanon's UNIFIL renewal challenges in New York
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4min
Lebanon's UNIFIL renewal challenges in New York

New York is witnessing intense diplomatic meetings involving Lebanese and international officials ahead of the renewal decision for UNIFIL forces on August 31st.

From the statements of Caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib in New York, it is evident that these negotiations are challenging.

Bou Habib reminded that the annual renewal of the international force in the south occurs upon the request of the Lebanese government.

He emphasized Lebanon's refusal to legitimize the transfer of UNIFIL's mandate from Chapter 6, as stated in Resolution 1701 issued in 2006, which calls for resolving the conflict through peaceful means, to Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, which permits the enforcement of the resolution through the use of force.

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 6?

When a country threatens international peace and security, the Security Council can intervene, placing it under either Chapter 6 or Chapter 7.

Furthermore, Chapter 6 implies resolving disputes through peaceful means. In this case, the Security Council can propose measures to the conflicting parties to prevent the escalation of the conflict, such as negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or resorting to international courts.

Are we currently under Chapter 6?

In international law, Lebanon is slightly above Chapter 6 since the deployment of international forces due to the delicate situation in southern Lebanon. However, we have not yet reached Chapter 7, which involves more escalated measures.

What does placing countries under Chapter 7 mean?

When the Security Council sees that the adopted measures are ineffective and the situation has reached a certain level of danger, it can escalate the measures by two degrees. 

This can range from imposing sanctions, including economic sanctions and cutting diplomatic ties, to the use of military force on the ground. This means initiating a monitoring mission that could potentially escalate to military intervention to halt the conflict between the parties.

But this scenario is currently distant from Lebanon since we are not in a state of military conflict with Israel.

Does placing a state under Chapter 7 automatically lead to such measures?

Not automatically, but it serves as a warning to the state that if it does not comply with the required measures, such actions can be taken with a decision from the United Nations Security Council, which is binding for any state signatory to the UN Charter.

Moreover, Lebanon, being a signatory, can only express its opinion because when there are international forces, the decision is no longer solely in the hands of local authorities.

To clarify, the decision can be stopped only by one of the five permanent members of the Security Council exercising its veto power: the United States, France, United Kingdom, China, or Russia.

In conclusion, matters have not yet reached this point.

The negotiations led by the Lebanese team are complex, but there's a possibility that they might achieve their demands.
 

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