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Security Council calls for team to assess possible arms movements into Lebanon

Security Council calls for team to assess possible arms movements into Lebanon

Security Council
Voicing concern at reports of illegal arms movements across the Lebanese-Syrian border, which would violate the United Nations resolution ending last year’s conflict between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah, the Security Council has invited Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send an independent mission as soon as possible to assess the monitoring of the entire border.

In a statement read out last night by Ambassador Karen Pierce of the United Kingdom, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, the 15-member body said it welcomed Mr. Ban’s intention, outlined in a letter last week, to evaluate the situation along the border.

Such a mission should be independent and dispatched in close liaison with the Lebanese Government, the presidential statement added, and report back promptly to the Council on its findings and recommendations.

In his letter, Mr. Ban had proposed sending a small team with specific terms of reference and for a limited period of time.

Council members said they had “serious concern at mounting information by Israel and another State of illegal movements of arms” across the border between Lebanon and Syria. At the same time, the Council members welcomed the Lebanese Government’s expressed determination and steps taken to prevent such movements.

Noting that Syria has stated it has taken its own measures in this area, the Council reiterated its call on Damascus to take further steps to reinforce border controls.

The statement also called on all Member States, especially those in the region, to take all necessary measures to enforce the arms embargo detailed in resolution 1701, which last August ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah.

Last night’s presidential statement also welcomed the successful completion of the second phase of the deployment of the expanded UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and commended that Force’s active role.

Council members called on the Israeli and Lebanese Governments to do more to consolidate the cessation of hostilities, particularly by increasing their cooperation with UNIFIL and approving temporary security arrangements for the northern part of the village of Ghajar.

The statement also reiterated members’ deep concern over continuing Israeli violations of Lebanese air space and renewed the Council’s call for the disbanding and disarming of all militias and armed groups, aside from the military, in Lebanon.

It also voiced deep concern at reported recent statements by a Hizbollah leader about the seizure by Lebanese authorities of a truckload of arms “and underscores that these statements are an open admission of activities which would constitute a violation of resolution 1701.”