What is the goal of the mission in Lebanon?
The UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) peacekeeping mission is intended to ensure the end of violent conflicts and secure peace between Lebanon and Israel in the long term. In order to sustainably stabilise peace in the region, there must be a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon.
This makes it crucially important for Lebanon, but also for Germany, to secure peace in the Middle East. UNIFIL is making an important contribution and also acts as the only direct channel for talks between the states of Israel and Lebanon.
Why is the mission to be extended?
The political situation in Lebanon remains tense, as a result of the economic and financial crisis, the fact that the country has not yet managed to form a government, and the suspension of negotiations between Lebanon and the International Monetary Fund.
The Lebanese Government is not currently able to secure its own borders, as a sovereign responsibility. UNIFIL troops are relieving the pressure on the Lebanese Armed Forces, which makes it an important element in ensuring the stability of the country. In the long term, the Lebanese Armed Forces Navy must be enabled to monitor the country’s sea borders independently. International and German engagement has already been able to tangibly improve the capabilities of the Lebanese Armed Forces Navy.
The Israeli and Lebanese Governments have repeatedly voiced their wish to see a continued UNIFIL presence and Germany’s involvement in the mission’s maritime component. This is why the German Federal Government will continue its involvement in the mission with German troops.
What exactly is Germany’s contribution?
Essentially the responsibility of German troops can be seen in the maritime component of UNIFIL. Monitoring and securing Lebanon’s 225 kilometre-long sea border is key to the stability of the country, and of the region. The Lebanese Armed Forces Navy is not currently in a position to monitor the country’s sea border independently. Germany is thus providing UNIFIL with support in the form of a frigate. Germany also assumed command of UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force in January 2021.
A total of up to 300 German soldiers can be deployed. The Bundeswehr has been involved in the mission in Lebanon since 2006. The mandate is now to be extended until the end of June 2022.
The special focus of the Maritime Task Force is on enabling Lebanese security forces to protect and monitor the country’s airspace and maritime area independently in the long term. German troops are thus also engaged in training the Lebanese Armed Forces Navy. In addition, the Bundeswehr helps ensure that the civilian population has access to humanitarian assistance.