UN envoy calls on Israel to stop over-flights of Lebanon

14 August 2003

Terming them "violations," the United Nations envoy for Southern Lebanon has called on Israel to stop its over-flights of Lebanese territory following a large number of such air incursions yesterday, "which were very visible and loud and appear to have taken place over large parts of Lebanese territory."

As has been stated on numerous occasions by the UN, these aerial violations of the so-called Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel are not conducive to helping restore peace and security to this area, Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, said in a statement.

Mr. de Mistura reminded all parties of their obligations to fully respect the Blue Line and called for them to ensure utmost restraint.

Mr. Annan has also voiced concern over rising tensions in the area. On Monday, he strongly condemned the Hezbollah militia's shelling of Israel from Lebanon which killed an Israeli youth, and last Friday said he was "very concerned" at exchanges of fire initiated from Lebanese territory with a barrage at Israeli army posts. He urged the parties involved to avoid increasing tension.