U.N. Calls for Hizbullah Disarmament, Respect for Blue Line

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U.N. Calls for Hizbullah Disarmament, Respect for Blue Line

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:18 am

The
U.N. Security Council called for the disarming of Hizbullah and all
other militias in Lebanon and urged Israel and Lebanon to support a
permanent ceasefire and long-term solution based on full respect for
the Blue Line along their border.


In
a statement read out by the council's president for April, South
African Ambassador to the U.N. Dumisani Kumalo, said the council
"reiterates its commitment to the full implementation of all provisions
of Resolution 1701" which ended the monthlong war between Israel and
Hizbullah in August 2006.


That
Resolution brought an end to a devastating 34-day Israeli military
offensive against Lebanon, launched after Hizbullah captured two
Israeli soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid.


The
council "takes note of the progress as well as of the concerns
expressed" by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the resolution's
implementation in his latest report on the matter.


The
statement, adopted unanimously by the 15-member council, "emphasizes
the need for greater progress on all the key issues required for a
permanent ceasefire and long term solution."


It does not spell out, however, what these "key issues" are.

Council
members also urged all parties in the region "to intensify their
efforts" to comply with the text which has demanded the pullout of the
Israeli army from south Lebanon and its replacement by a U.N.-backed
Lebanese army deployment. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
(UNIFIL) monitors the separation of forces following the war.


The
resolution also called for the disarming of all militias -- an allusion
to Hizbullah as well as to Palestinian militant groups -- and the
prevention of illegal arms sales and smuggling operations in Lebanon.


On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Syria was still supplying weapons to Hizbullah.

"Resolution
1701 is not being applied," Barak said. "The transfer of rockets from
Syria to Lebanon is continuing and Hizbullah's military build-up is
continuing."


He called on the Security Council "to act and see how the resolution is applied and enforced."

The
U.N. chief, speaking to reporters, said he hoped Syria and Lebanon
"will be able to resolve these border issues so that this border will
be transparent, without any illegal, illicit transfer of illegal arms."


Ban
added that he had not decided when to send a U.N. mission "to
facilitate the border demarcation issues, but I will continue to
consult on this matter with the countries concerned."


The
U.N. resolution failed to resolve a key territorial dispute that
Hizbullah had used to justify its attacks on Israel -- the Israeli
occupation of a small parcel of land north of its border called the
Shebaa Farms.


UNIFIL,
created in 1978 after an Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, saw its
mission extended by resolution 1701. It currently has 13,500 troops
along with 1,000 civilian employees, compared to only 2,000 before 2006.


South
Africa's ambassador said in the statement read after Tuesday's meeting
that the Council gives its full support to UNIFIL and welcomes its
recent enhanced cooperation with the Lebanese army.


The statement also urged all parties to abide by their obligations to respect the safety of U.N. personnel in south Lebanon.

U.S.
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said negotiations on the "good, acceptable"
statement took time because it involved different countries inside and
outside the Security Council.


"With
regard to the implementation, I think there are pluses and minuses
there," he said. "We would like to see more progress on disarming
militias."


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