Minimal progress so far in bolstering Lebanon’s borders, UN report finds
Progress in fortifying Lebanon’s border with Syria has been minimal, the independent United Nations team assessing the monitoring of the boundary said in a new report made public today.
The new study is based on the second mission in July of the Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team (LIBAT), set up in April 2007 in response to a request from the Security Council.
The four-member Team was dispatched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to examine progress made in enhancing border management and security, as called for in Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 conflict between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah.
The team found this time that some positive steps have been made on the strengthening the northern border as well as minor advances in other areas. “In general, however, Lebanon has not yet succeeded in enhancing the overall security of its borders in any significant manner,” it noted.
The report said that official border crossing points have yet to fully implement the recommendations put forward by the team’s report from last year, after its first mission to the region.
“There has been virtually no progress in the situation along the eastern Green Border and the Green Border remains as penetrable as it was during the mission of Team I,” it said.
Calling on the Lebanese Government to take ownership of the efforts to secure its borders, the Team said that authorities must establish a framework with timelines and performance targets.
“This plan should clarify the end state that the Government of Lebanon wishes to achieve with regard to its border controls system and the ways and means of achieving this, including a description of the phases and stations along the way,” it said.
The report, whose conclusions are backed by Mr. Ban, reiterates the need to put in the place the recommendations of its previous report, including the creation of a multi-agency force focusing on arms smuggling; the deployment of international border security experts; and the establishment of a dedicated border guard agency.