Lebanon rejects any changes to UN peacekeeping mandate

August 29, 2017 GMT

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon has called for a U.N. peacekeeping force’s mandate to be renewed without changes so that it can continue working to prevent hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah.

Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil conveyed Lebanon’s position to representatives of the U.N. Security Council’s permanent members on Tuesday.

The peacekeeping mission known as UNIFIL is up for renewal when its mandate expires Aug. 31. Israel and the U.S. are pressing for improvements to the force to combat what they say is the spread of illegal arms to Hezbollah-dominated southern Lebanon.

The UNIFIL commander in Lebanon and the Lebanese government reject the claims. Bassil said renewing the force’s mandate is paramount to the country’s security. He pointed to what he said were daily Israeli violations of U.N. resolutions and Lebanese sovereignty.