Lebanon: UN urges respect for withdrawal line following Shebaa Farms incident

Lebanon: UN urges respect for withdrawal line following Shebaa Farms incident

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Reacting to clashes across the withdrawal line in southern Lebanon, a senior United Nations official in Beirut today called on the parties to put an end to the violations that could inflame an already-tense region.

Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, issued a statement after Hizbollah used mortars and missiles to launch an attack on Wednesday against four Israeli army positions in the vicinity of Shebaa Farms.

“This action from the point of view of the United Nations was a clear and violent infringement of the Blue Line,” he said, referring to the withdrawal line.

Mr. de Mistura also noted that the “violent breach” led to a response by the Israeli Army, which used artillery fire and aircraft attacks in retaliation. “Fortunately, no casualties have been reported by either side,” the envoy noted.

“Such violations contribute to a potential exacerbation of the already volatile situation in the region,” he said, reiterating the Security Council’s “firm and clear” position that those actions in the Shebaa Farms area were considered breaches of the line.

“The United Nations calls again on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to fully respect the Blue Line,” he said.