France traditionally enjoys favorable relations with Lebanon. French involvement in Lebanon is characterized as much by strong economic and cultural cooperation as by political support.
"France remains fully committed to the strengthening of the unity, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability of the country in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council, particularly resolution 1701", as reiterated by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in the wake of the parliamentary elections held on 7 June 2009.
This commitment is notably demonstrated through the French participation in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). UNIFIL was created by Security Council Resolutions 425 and 426 (1978). It was deployed in 1978.
UNIFIL’s mandate and personnel were strengthened and extended by resolution 1701, adopted on 11 August 2006. This resolution put an end to the month-long hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and set the parameters for a lasting cease-fire. UNIFIL, in this context, plays a key role in supporting the Lebanese army.
The primary mission of the Force is to monitor the cessation of hostilities and respect the Blue Line, as well as to assist the deployment of Lebanese Armed Forces in the south (effective from autumn 2006) and restore their authority in these areas.
UNIFIL’s troop ceiling was raised to 11,400 by resolution 1701. It has almost 11,000 personnel (December 2013). France, with almost 900 troops, is one of the biggest contributors after Indonesia (1,200 men) and Italy (1,100 men).
The mandate of the force was renewed by the Security Council until 31 August 2014, with resolution 2115.
There is another peacekeeping operation deployed in the region : the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights were conquered by Israel in 1967 from Syria. UNDOF was established in 1974 to monitor the cease-fire following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. The force has about one thousand personnel. The UNDOF mandate is renewed every six months by a resolution of the Security Council, whose text has remained unchanged for many years, and which calls on parties to "immediately implement resolution 338" of 1973.
Resolution 1757 (2007) established under Chapter VII of the UN Charter the Special Tribunal for Lebanon , to prosecute those responsible for the attack of February 14th 2005 resulting in the death of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other Lebanese officials . France has welcomed the commencement of the court’s work on March 1, 2009.
France pays $ 1.5 million per year to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon budget since its inception. This brings the total amount of the French financial support to more than € 10.5 million in 2015.
In resolution 1559 adopted in September 2004, the Security Council "reaffirms its call for the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial
integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon throughout Lebanon". It "calls upon all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon", and "calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias".
Resolution 1559 was reaffirmed by resolution 1680 (May 2006), which calls on Syria to help Lebanon to demarcate its borders and to establish full diplomatic relations with Lebanon. It also recalls the need to carry out the disarmament of militias in Lebanon and calls for an end to arms trafficking.
The situation in Lebanon is frequently examined in the Security Council:
— The Security Council holds quarterly public debates on the "Situation in the Middle East", as well as monthly consultations, where issues related to Lebanon are regularly raised (see our file on Israel and Palestinian territories).
— Every four months, the Secretary-General produces a report on the implementation of resolution 1701, which is discussed in private consultations.
— Every six months, the Secretary-General produces a report on the implementation of resolution 1559, which is discussed in private consultations.
— The Council may also hold meetings on Lebanon as required by the situation on the ground.
Finally, France has a leading role in Lebanon and led the Security Council negotiations on this subject.
Lebanon joined the Security Council as an elected member on 1 January 2010 until 31 December 2011.
August 2006 - UN photo / Mark Garten