Security Council calls for greater cooperation to attain LebaneseIsraeli peace

The Security Council today voiced grave concern at persistent reports that the arms embargo along the Lebanese-Syrian border has been breached, militias in Lebanon are re-arming and there have been increasing Israeli violations of Lebanese air space, and urged all sides to cooperate fully with the United Nations to achieve a permanent ceasefire. In a presidential statement read out by Ambassador Pascal Gayama of the Republic of Congo, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, the 15-member panel stressed the need to work for the region towards a long-term solution in line with the resolution ending last year’s war between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah. The statement reaffirmed the Council’s “full support for the legitimate and democratically elected Government of Lebanon” and condemned any attempts to destabilize the country. But it said it was concerned by recent reports that the arms embargo on the Lebanese border has been breached and that both Lebanese and non-Lebanese armed groups and militias have rearmed. The statement reiterated the call for all militias and armed groups in Lebanon to disband and disarm after noting recent Lebanese Government information about the activities of such groups, especially the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and Fatah Intifada. Council members also expressed concern about Hizbollah’s statement that it retains the military capacity to strike all parts of Israel, and calls on all parties to refrain from statements and activities that could jeopardize the cessation of hostilities.” They added that Hizbollah is yet to return the two Israeli soldiers it abducted last year before the war began, and called for the soldiers’ immediate return, as well as for greater efforts to settle the issue of Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel. Today’s statement also welcomed the recommendations of the Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team (LIBAT), which travelled to the region earlier this year. The Council said it looked forward to implementation of those recommendations. The statement also referred to an increase in Israeli violations of Lebanese air space, and appealed to all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities imposed after last year’s conflict and the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. Turning to border delineation issues, the presidential statement took note of recent progress on the Shebaa Farms, including Mr. Ban’s announced intention to hold talks with the parties on that question and the “solid progress made by the cartographer towards a provisional determination of the geographical extent of the Shebaa Farms.” 3 August 2007The Security Council today voiced grave concern at persistent reports that the arms embargo along the Lebanese-Syrian border has been breached, militias in Lebanon are re-arming and there have been increasing Israeli violations of Lebanese air space, and urged all sides to cooperate fully with the United Nations to achieve a permanent ceasefire. read more