Thank you, Madam President. The United States is pleased to join consensus in support of the mandate renewal today. I also want to commend France for the cooperative spirit in which it led this process.
Maintaining peace and stability between Lebanon and Israel is of paramount importance.
The mandate makes clear that UNIFIL must have freedom of movement and access to the Blue Line.
The mandate also underscores the importance of the arms embargo included in Resolution 1701. With the support of Iran, Hizballah has grown its arsenal in Lebanon in direct threat to peace along the Blue Line and the stability of all of Lebanon. In support of the Taif Accords, the Security Council decided that all States shall prevent the sale or supply of arms in Lebanon to any entity other than the Government of Lebanon or UNIFIL. Twelve years later, it is unacceptable that Hizballah continues to flout this embargo, Lebanon’s sovereignty, and the will of the majority of Lebanese people.
Another important component in this mandate is the language on the Maritime Taskforce. At the inception of the Taskforce, the Security Council failed to provide a clear transition strategy and goal for the Lebanese Navy to work towards eventually assuming responsibilities for the Taskforce. We have taken steps to correct this oversight and urge the international community to support the strengthening and expansion of Lebanese naval capabilities accordingly.
As we review missions against our Peacekeeping Principles, the United States will continue to work to ensure that UNIFIL remains an effective mission. We reiterate our commitment to supporting the stability and peace the people of Lebanon and Israel have long desired. Thank you, Madam President.