UNSC power abuse: US, UK, France disregard Lebanon interest on UNIFIL
Russia's Foreign Ministry says the passed resolution failed to take the "position and opinion of Lebanon" regarding international forces deployed on its soil.
The United States, UK, and France continue to abuse their powers in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to advance their political interests, evidently neglecting Lebanon's opinion regarding the renewal of the UNIFIL mission deployed in the country and extending it for one year, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
"For the first time, the document was not adopted unanimously as Russia and China abstained from voting on the proposal prepared by France, the informal overseer of the dossier," the Ministry statement read.
The United States and some of its allies, including the UAE and "Israel", pushed for a resolution to give the UN Interim Force in Lebanon greater freedom of action and authority to bypass the Lebanese Army when conducting missions on Lebanese sovereign soil.
After heated discussions -- provoked by the US -- dragged the vote to the last moment, a US-French draft was approved. It constituted that the force is allowed to make "announced and unannounced patrols" without prior approval from any authority, including the Lebanese Army, but its activities will require "coordination with the Lebanese government," which serves nothing other than a formality.
But the vote was not unanimous. Both Russia and China, co-founders of the UNSC, abstained.
"This decision was dictated by the fact that the final document failed to reflect a compromise that would have taken into account the position and opinion of Lebanon as a country hosting the UN peacekeeping force on its territory," the Russian Foreign Ministry continued.
"In general, the general tendency for representatives of the Western troika in the UNSC (the US, France and the UK) to abuse their powers as informal overseers of the dossier in order to promote their political views, including in the field of peacekeeping, is a cause for concern," the statement said.
According to the formal text of Resolution 2695 (2023) adopted on Thursday: "UNIFIL does not require prior authorization or permission to undertake its mandated tasks and... UNIFIL is authorized to conduct its operation independently while continuing to coordinate with the Government of Lebanon."