NEW YORK — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is welcoming the extension of a longtime peacekeeping operation in Lebanon — and reiterating support for a commander who drew U.S. criticism.
Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement Thursday that the peacekeeping mission will keep enhancing its operations and Guterres has confidence in its leadership and staff.
The Security Council renewed the mission known as UNIFIL on Wednesday, with new instructions for more patrols with Lebanese forces and detailed reports when peacekeepers run into roadblocks in Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon. The U.S. and Israel pushed for the changes, saying UNIFIL wasn’t doing enough to stop a Hezbollah buildup of illegal weapons.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley also said UNIFIL’s commander was blind to the problem. The commander said he had no evidence it was happening.