The President of Lebanon today called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to carry out the provisions of the United Nations resolution that ended that country’s war with Hizbollah five years ago.
“In other words, Israel is to halt its daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty and to immediately withdraw from Lebanese territories that it still occupies,” Michel Sleiman said as he addressed the General Assembly’s annual general debate.
In addition to ending the month-long war between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbollah, Security Council resolution 1701 calls for respect for the so-called Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area.
In July, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams, reported that resolution 1701 has largely been respected over the past five years, but there has been little progress towards an envisaged permanent ceasefire.
Mr. Williams and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have stated the need for both Lebanon and Israel to make efforts to resolve some of the issues that have proved thorny since the resolution, including the question of the village of Ghajar. Israel has yet to withdraw from northern Ghajar and the adjacent area north of the Blue Line.
Mr. Sleiman said that Israel must also cease “its persistent threats against Lebanon and its infrastructure and its endeavours to destabilize the country through its spying networks and its recruitment of agents.”
Lebanon retains the right to liberate or retrieve its occupied territories through “all legitimate and available means,” he added.
The President also reiterated Lebanon’s rights over its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, as well as its right to exploit its natural resources – whether they are on land or deep in the sea.