United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today deplored the recent firing of Katyusha rockets from Lebanon into the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona and called on all parties to forestall a rise in tension.
“The rockets caused serious damage to property but fortunately there were no casualties,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement responding to last night’s attack.
Pointing to the fragile situation in Lebanon and across the region, the Secretary-General repeated his call on the Lebanese Government “to extend its control over all its territory, to exert its monopoly on the use of force, and to put an end to all such attacks.”
He called on all parties to respect fully the Blue Line which marks the Israeli withdrawal and to avoid any actions that could lead to an escalation.
This call was echoed in Beirut by Mr. Annan’s Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, Geir O. Pedersen.
According to a statement released by the envoy, at least four rockets were fired from within Lebanon and caused “serious material damage” to the residential town of Kiryat Shmona. Israel carried out a pre-dawn retaliatory air raid in Na’ameh, located some 12 kilometres south of Beirut.
Mr. Pederson urged Lebanon’s Government to extend its authority across the country and exert a monopoly on the use of force. He also reminded all parties that “one violation cannot justify another” and called on them to refrain from any further escalation.