The Security Council today said it was encouraged by the prevailing calm across the so-called ‘Blue Line’ between Israel and Lebanon, while also stressing the need for all Lebanese parties to refrain from any involvement in the crisis in neighbouring Syria.
Regarding the calm across the Blue Line, Council members “urged all parties to make every effort to ensure that the cessation of hostilities is sustained,” Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council for this month, said in a statement read out to the press.
They also underscored their “grave concern” over repeated incidents of cross-border fire which caused death and injury among the Lebanese population, as well as incursions, abductions and arms trafficking across the Lebanese-Syrian border and other border violations, he added.
The statement followed a closed-door meeting in which the Council was briefed by the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, on the Secretary-General’s latest report on resolution 1701.
That resolution, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah, 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 since the war ended, there has been little progress towards an envisaged permanent ceasefire.
Council members also expressed their deep concern at the impact of the Syrian crisis, which is now entering its third year, on Lebanon’s stability.
“They appealed to all Lebanese people to preserve national unity in the face of attempts to undermine the country’s stability and stressed the need for all Lebanese parties to respect Lebanon’s policy of disassociation and to refrain from any involvement in the Syrian crisis,” said the statement.
Lebanon is hosting over 360,000 refugees who have fled the ongoing violence in Syria. While commending Lebanon’s generosity in assisting the refugees, the Council called on the international community to follow through on humanitarian aid pledges made at an aid conference in Kuwait in January.
Speaking to reporters after his briefing, Mr. Plumbly noted that the issue of elements from Lebanon who might be fighting in Syria is something that is addressed in the latest report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 1701. However, he added, that it is an area in which the UN does not have its own independent information.