"The [UN] Security Council strongly deplores this loss of innocent lives and the killing of civilians in the present conflict, and requires the secretary-general to report to it within one week on the circumstances of this tragic incident," said Jean Marc de la Sabliere, France's UN ambassador and the current president of the Security Council.
But the statement did not call for an immediate truce, as requested by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan but opposed by the United States.
The council did not mention a U.S. announcement that Israel would stop aerial bombing in southern Lebanon for 48 hours, presumably because Israel had not confirmed it.
Early on July 31, there were reports Israeli warplanes had launched raids on eastern Lebanon, however, the Israeli military denied this.
In Jerusalem, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today she believes a cease-fire to end fighting between Israel and the Hizballah guerrilla group in Lebanon could be forged this week.
She was speaking before heading back to Washington, following talks with Israeli leaders.
Rice said there is an emerging consensus with the Israelis on what is necessary for both an urgent cease-fire and lasting settlement.
(compiled from agency reports)
MISSION In cases in which international intervention in regional conflicts is deemed necessary, peacekeeping missions authorized by the UN Security Council provide legitimacy by demonstrating the commitment of the international community to address such crises.
MANDATE UN peacekeeping missions are prepared, managed, and directed by the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The unique mandates of peacekeeping missions falls under the authority of the UN's Security Council and General Assembly, and under the command of the UN secretary-general.
MONEY Funding for UN peacekeeping missions is provided by UN member states. All are legally obliged to pay a share under an established formula. The leading financial providers as of 2006 were: the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, China, and the Netherlands.
MORE All UN peacekeeping missions share the goals of alleviating human suffering and creating conditions for self-sustaining peace. Missions can consist of armed or unarmed military components, depending on their mandate, and various civilian tasks.
Military operations can include:
· Deploying to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the spillover of conflict across borders;
· Stabilizing conflict situations after a cease-fire in order to create an environment for the parties to reach a lasting peace agreement;
· Assisting in implementing comprehensive peace agreements;
· Leading states or territories through a transition to stable government, based on democratic principles, good governance, and economic development.
HISTORY There have been 60 peacekeeping operations since 1948. Fifteen peacekeeping missions were in operation in mid-2006, employing more than 60,000 troops, 7,000 police, and over 2,500 military observers. Peacekeeping operations in 2006 were supported by uniformed personnel provided by 109 countries.
(source: UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations)
Middle East: UN Mulls New International Force For Lebanon
Georgia: Issue Of Russian Peacekeepers Heats Up
UN: U.S. Presses For Peacekeeper Deployment To Darfur