Security Council emphasizes need for Israel and Lebanon to tackle outstanding issues
In a statement issued to the press on Wednesday night, the 15-member body “urged the parties to continue working within the framework of the tripartite mechanism, in order to progress notably on the marking of the Blue Line.”
The statement came after a closed-door meeting in which the Council was briefed by the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of resolution 1701, which helped end the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah.
The resolution calls for respect for the Blue Line, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area. While the resolution has largely been respected over the past six years, but there has been little progress towards an envisaged permanent ceasefire.
Mr. Plumbly told reporters after the briefing that he got “both a strong sense of the value and the importance of what UNIFIL [UN Interim Force in Lebanon] is doing with the parties to sustain what has been a very extended period of calm across the Blue Line, but also a concern about some of those issues which really have been outstanding for a long period and which continue to require attention.”
Council members also welcomed Lebanese President Michel Sleiman’s initiative in reconvening the National Dialogue of the country’s political leaders and the declarations adopted following the first two meetings, and looked forward to the continuation of this process.
“The commitment of the country’s leaders to safeguarding Lebanon from the impact of regional tensions at this difficult time is particularly important,” they stated.
In its statement, the Council also expressed grave concern over repeated incidents of cross-border fire, incursions, abductions, and arms trafficking across the Lebanese-Syrian border as well as other border violations.