Here are some excerpts from the SG’s Report S/2006/933, Letter dated 1 December 2006 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council:
“I have the honour to submit a factual update to my report of 12 September 2006 on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006)(S/2006/780), in particular on the operations of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and other relevant United Nations activities.
Israel continued to withdraw its forces from southern Lebanon, in coordination with UNIFIL. The IDF retain a presence only in the northern part of the village of Ghajar. Given the specific status of the village of Ghajar, which is divided by the Blue Line, UNIFIL is working with the LAF and the IDF to finalize the withdrawal of the IDF from the remaining area inside Lebanon and set up temporary security arrangements for the part of the village of Ghajar inside Lebanese territory.
In parallel with the withdrawal of Israeli forces, Lebanon deployed, in coordination with UNIFIL, four brigades of its armed forces throughout the south in the areas vacated by the IDF, including along the Blue Line. The deployment of the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] throughout the south for the first time in decades down to the Blue Line is a most notable achievement and a key stabilizing factor. The LAF, assisted by UNIFIL, have taken some specific steps to ensure that the area between the Litani River and the Blue Line is free of armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and those of UNIFIL. Specifically, the LAF have established a considerable number of permanent positions and checkpoints and commenced patrols.
UNIFIL and the LAF have seen sporadic evidence of the presence of unauthorized armed personnel, assets and/or weapons. On one occasion, a UNIFIL demining team was challenged by two Hizbollah personnel in combat uniform carrying AK47 rifles. UNIFIL notified the LAF, who arrested three suspects the following day. Since early September, there have been 13 instances where UNIFIL came across unauthorized arms or related materiel in its area of operation. The two most noteworthy were the discovery of 17 Katyushas and several improvised explosive devices in Rachaya El-Foukhar and, in the general area of Bourhoz, of a weapons cache consisting of seven missiles, three rocket launchers and substantial amounts of ammunition. On all of these occasions, UNIFIL informed the LAF, who took prompt action either to confiscate or destroy the materials.
In the area between the Litani River and the Blue Line, there are, in addition, Palestinian armed elements largely confined to the refugee camps.
The Interim Maritime Task Force, under the lead of the Italian Navy, operated in support of the Lebanese Navy to secure Lebanese territorial waters until 15 October, when the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force became operational. The latter has questioned and confirmed the identity of some 950 ships, detecting one suspicious boat, which, when searched, was found to be smuggling cigarettes, and rendering assistance to one vessel in distress.
The Lebanese authorities reported that they had undertaken a variety of measures to secure their borders and entry points in order to prevent the illegal entry into Lebanon of arms and related materiel. However, the United Nations continues to receive reports of illegal arms smuggling across the Lebanese-Syrian border, but has not been able to verify such reports.
The second phase of the augmentation of UNIFIL is now under way, and involves the further deployment of four mechanized infantry battalions from France, Indonesia, Italy and Nepal and one infantry unit each from Malaysia and Qatar. The French composite battalion is assuming the role of quick reaction force. Finland, Ireland and Turkey have deployed engineer units and another is expected from Portugal. China will deploy one level-2 hospital, in addition to its existing engineering company. The Dominican Republic and the United Republic of Tanzania are expected to deploy military police companies.
As at 28 November, UNIFIL troop strength was 10,480 all ranks. The completion of the augmentation is expected in December, when UNIFIL force strength will reach approximately 11,500 ground troops, 1,750 naval personnel and 51 military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization.Â With the deployment by the LAF of four brigades to south Lebanon, these numbers are deemed to be sufficient to execute the mandate.
The regular UNIFIL supply chain was recently re-established, thus enabling the Force to discontinue the air/sea bridge between Cyprus and Lebanon, which had been in place to maintain UNIFIL operability during the IDF naval and air blockade.
Two sector headquarters, West and East, have been established in Tibnin and Marjayoun, respectively… In addition, a quick reaction force will be based in Frun. UNIFIL air assets, provided and operated by Italy, are based at the Force headquarters. The UNIFIL Maritime Task Force is operating in Lebanese territorial waters.
A UNIFIL office for coordination and joint planning with the LAF, the Ministry of Defence and other relevant Lebanese authorities is being set up in Beirut.
Another UNIFIL office will be established in Tel Aviv for liaison and coordination with IDF headquarters, the Ministry of Defence and other relevant Israeli authorities. A UNIFIL liaison office, based in the IDF Northern Command, is fully operational. The Office of Political Affairs, comprising also civil affairs and public information, is being augmented within the Force headquarters and will staff the liaison offices and also deploy at the sector level.
The Strategic Military Cell for UNIFIL has been established at United Nations Headquarters and is operational.
I continue to make the unconditional release of the captured Israeli soldiers and the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel a top priority. The facilitator appointed by me specifically to address these vital issues is currently engaged in an intensive effort with all parties to reach a resolution.
Since my last report, the full scope of contamination from unexploded cluster munitions has come to light…
Israel has yet to provide UNIFIL with the detailed firing data on its use of cluster munitions that I referred to in my previous report. The provision of this data, which would be in keeping with the spirit of Protocol V of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, which came into force recently, would significantly assist operators on the ground to mitigate the threat to innocent civilians. I reiterate my expectation for the provision of these data.
I would note that Israel confirmed in a letter dated 14 November 2006 from its Charge d’Affaires that it had handed over to the United Nations all pre-2000 minefield records available for southern Lebanon and the area north of the Litani River.
However, I regret to inform you that four deminers working for the United Nations mine clearance programme in south Lebanon have been injured over the past few days, after they stepped on Israeli-manufactured anti-personnel mines near the village of Deir Mimas. As this area was considered safe prior to the conflict, there is the possibility that new anti-personnel landmines were laid during the recent conflict. While investigations on those incidents are still ongoing, I want to reiterate that the United Nations condemns the use of all anti-personnel mines and calls upon any party that laid such mines during the recent conflict to provide information as to where they have been laid to prevent similar tragic incidents occurring in the future.
Further to the Council’s request to me in paragraph 10 of its resolution 1701 (2006) to develop proposals for delineation of the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border was disputed or uncertain,including by dealing with the Shabaa Farms area, I have appointed a senior cartographer to assume the lead on reviewing relevant material and developing an accurate territorial definition of the Shabaa Farms area. The cartographer is in the process of conducting such an exercise for the purpose of any further diplomatic activity that could be carried out by the United Nations as regards this issue.
I am heartened to note that both Lebanon and Israel have indicated their readiness to cooperate in this exercise.
A permanent solution of this issue remains contingent upon the delineation of the border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, in fulfilment of resolutions 1559 (2004), 1680 (2006) and 1701 (2006). At the same time, and in view of the repeated Syrian statements indicating that the Shabaa Farms area is Lebanese, I continue to take careful note of the alternative path suggested by the Government of Lebanon in its seven-point plan, namely, placing the Shabaa Farms under United Nations jurisdiction until permanent border delineation and Lebanese sovereignty over them is settled. The United Nations looks forward to reporting further on this matter in early 2007. http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/638/98/PDF/N0663898.pdf?OpenElement