US wants UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon to report on Hezbollah

Italian soldiers of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) monitor the area near the border with Israel on December 21, 2015 the day after two Katyusha-type rockets were fired from south Lebanon into Israel, a Lebanese security source said. AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD ZAYYAT / AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD ZAYYAT

Vastavam web: The United States wants UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon to take on an expanded mission and investigate alleged violations by Hezbollah militias in the volatile area, Ambassador Nikki Haley said.The UN Security Council is set to vote on renewing the UN interim force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) later this month, and Haley said she will seek “significant improvements” to its mandate.”We share the secretary-general’s strong desire to enhance UNIFIL’s efforts to prevent the spread of illegal arms in southern Lebanon,” said Haley in a statement.

“These arms which are almost entirely in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists threaten the security and stability of the region.” “UNIFIL must increase its capacity and commitment to investigating and reporting these violations,” she added.Haley has been a strong supporter of Israel, which fought a month-long war against Hezbollah in 2006. The fighting killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.There has been speculation about the possibility of a new war breaking out between Israel and Hezbollah, a powerful Lebanese paramilitary organization, more than a decade after their last direct confrontation.Set up in 1978, UNIFIL was beefed up after the 2006 war and now has 10,500 troops on the ground monitoring the ceasefire and helping the Lebanese government secure its borders.