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UN envoy cites "stability", "concern" four years after Israel-Hizbollah war

07-15-2010 13:57 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Marking four years since the outbreak of the war between Israel and the Lebanese group of Hizbollah, the UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss the resolution that brought the conflict to an end.

Adopted by the 15-member body in 2006, resolution 1701 requires Israel and Lebanon to meet key obligations in order to sustain the end of hostilities. It includes provisions that call for respect of the dividing "Blue Line" that divides both sides, the disarmament of militias operating in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area.

"The arrangements put in place by resolution 1701 have allowed the longest period of stability between the parties since the 1970s. No-one on either side of the Blue Line has been killed by hostile military action from the other side," UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams told reporters here.

Williams spoke to reporters here following his briefing to the Security Council, in which he called on all parties to "do far more" to meet their obligations under the resolution.

Despite Williams' assertion that "calm and stability have been returned" to the region, a recent report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon drew the Council's attention to violations that have occurred on both the Israeli and Lebanese side.

Ban's report called on Israel to withdraw its forces from the Lebanese village of Ghajar. Williams told reporters that the Council devoted a significant amount of time to the issue during Wednesday morning's consultations -- particularly on the village's northern section.

The absence of Israeli withdrawal from northern Ghajar is a " clear violation of resolution 1701," said Williams.

Meanwhile, Williams noted that concern was raised over allegations of continued weapons transfers to armed groups in Lebanon operating beyond control of the state, during the Council' s meeting.

Rising tensions in Lebanon are not the result of a single factor, but rather a combination of contributing elements, said Williams. Yet he said that he was "frustrated" by the stalled progress on the implementation of the resolution's core items.

The Lebanese ambassador to the UN Nawaf Salam, reiterated his government's commitment to the full implementation of the resolution, but raised alarming allegations of Israeli violations.

"Israel has continued to threaten Lebanon, its people, its government and to harm its infrastructures," Salam said in remarks to the press following the Council consultations.

Salam cited over 6,900 violations of Lebanese air, land, and sea space by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which he says have all been documented "in letters addressed by Lebanon to the president of the Security Council and to the secretary-general."

The secretary-general recognized ongoing air and ground violations of the Blue Line by the IDF in his report, warning that "the inherent risk of escalating the security situation that these incidents carry cannot by overstated."

The Lebanese ambassador spoke forcefully on accusations of Israeli espionage networks in Lebanon, which Williams called the allegations "deeply disturbing."

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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