Bundeswehr mission in Lebanon remains important: Germany is supporting the oldest still active United Nations peace mission
UNIFIL mission in the mediterranean sea, © dpa
United Nations peacekeeping soldiers have been engaged in fostering peace between Lebanon and Israel since 1978. Germany has been supporting the UNIFIL peace mission since 2006. Why is the mission and Germany’s involvement still important?
The United Nations mission UNIFIL continues to make a hugely important contribution towards stabilising the region and preventing an escalation between Lebanon and Israel. It is the only direct channel of communication between the two countries. Its tasks also include strengthening state structures in Lebanon and helping to secure its borders. The German Bundestag has just extended the Bundeswehr mandate for the mission by a further year until 2023.
How does the German Government support the mission?
Germany has been participating in the Maritime Task Force of the UNIFIL mission since 2006 and assumed command of the Task Force on 15 January 2021. The Bundeswehr performs key tasks to help protect Lebanon’s territorial waters, prevent arms smuggling and build capacities as well as train the Lebanese navy. Germany’s contribution is providing concrete help to strengthen Lebanese state institutions. The long‑term aim of the Maritime Task Force is to enable the Lebanese navy to carry out the tasks currently performed by the mission.
What other assistance is Germany providing for Lebanon?
Lebanon is in the midst of a grave social, economic and financial crisis. This has been further aggravated by the COVID‑19 pandemic, the devastating explosions in the port of Beirut and the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on grain and energy prices.
For many years now, Germany has been providing substantial humanitarian assistance, both for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and for Lebanese families particularly in need. In 2021, Germany made available around 147 million euro for humanitarian assistance measures in Lebanon, and it has already provided approximately 32 million euro this year. Germany is thus the second largest donor of humanitarian assistance after the United States. In particular, Germany is providing assistance for the World Food Programme in Lebanon, as malnutrition is a growing problem for refugees and host communities. All in all, more than two million people in the country are currently dependent on food aid.
Due to the tense situation in Lebanon and following the parliamentary elections on 15 May, it is crucial that the country has a functioning government in place quickly. Together with other donors, Germany is calling for a government to be formed soon so that durable political and economic reforms can be implemented.