Monday, May 01, 2017

Israel's letter to UN Security Council regarding Hezbollah violations of UNSC resolutions

30 Apr 2017
Israel's letter of April 25, 2017, to UN Security Council regarding Hezbollah violations of the Security Council Resolutions 1701 and 1559.
H.E. Mrs. Nikki Haley
President of the Security Council
United Nations 
Excellency, 
I am writing to you in your capacity as the president of the Security Council to once again alert the memberce of the council to the dangerous and destabilizing actions of the Iranian proxy Hezbollah in our region.
Hezbollah, the internationally designated terror organization, unabatedly continues to build up its military infrastructure in the towns and villages of southern Lebanon, in clear violation of Security Council resolutions 1701 and 1559. 
The evidence of Hezbollah's continuous violations is mounting each day and is overwhelmingly apparent.  In fact, it was reported that on April 20, Hezbollah conducted a tour for dozens of journalists alongside the Lebanese side of the demarcation line between Lebanon and Israel. The journalists witnessed and took pictures of Hezbollah fighters in full military regalia stationed along the route, holding guns and RPG launchers.
Following the incident, a statement to the media was made by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), saying that: "Shortly before the media delegation reached the area yesterday morning, the Lebanese army notified the UNIFIL of a media tour along the Blue Line, without mentioning any other detail."
This announcement clearly indicates that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) was aware of Hezbollah's intention to conduct this tour in advance and serves as alarming proof of the growing cooperation between Hezbollah and the LAF.
It is extremely disturbing that armed Hezbollah militants feel free to move openly in UNIFIL's area of operation, without being challenged by UNIFIL or LAF personnel. 
The well-documented and photographic proof of this blatant provocation once again verifies the maintenance of arms by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, in clear violation of UNSC resolutions 1701 and 1559. This recent report adds to other evidence that demonstrates Hezbollah's ongoing efforts in strengthening its military infrastructure in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah has been building up its arsenal by smuggling weapons from Syria into Lebanon; and according to recent publications utilizes weapons production factories built by Iran on Lebanese territory. 
The results of Hezbollah's military buildup are evident – the terrorist organization has amassed over one hundred and fifty thousand rockets and missiles; positioning its arsenal in the midst of the civilian population throughout southern Lebanon. Today, more than two-thirds of the civilian structures in the Shiite villages of southern Lebanon have become an integral part of Hezbollah's military array. 
Lebanese President Michel Aoun stated in a recent interview that Hezbollah's weapons complement the action of the Lebanese army. Furthermore, the Ministerial Statement of the Lebanese Council of Ministers of 28 December 2016 emphasizes the right of Lebanese citizens to "resist" Israel. 
It is thus evident that the Lebanese government is not only failing to fulfill its obligations under UNSC resolutions 1701 and 1559, but is in fact actively encouraging and legitimizing Hezbollah's activities, in clear violation of these resolutions. 
The worrisome trend of Hezbollah's continued military buildup has serious repercussions on the stability of the region, Lebanon's future and the ability of its government to exercise full governance within its country. 
The international community cannot continue to turn a blind eye to Hezbollah's flagrant violations of UNSC resolutions 1701 and 1559. The Security Council must send a strong message to the Government of Lebanon and demand that it fully implements these resolutions, not only in word but in concrete action. 
It also imperative that reports presented by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the implementation of UNSC resolutions 1701 and 1559, clearly represent the ongoing violations of the resolutions. 
I should be grateful if you would have this letter distributed as an official document of the Security Council. I wish to inform you tat an identical letter has been sent to H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, Security-General of the United Nations.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurance of my highest consideration. 
Sincerely, 
Danny Danon
Ambassador 
Permanent Representative 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

UNIFIL: CONTACTS UNDERWAY WITH LAF OVER REPORTS ON PRESENCE OF ARMED INDIVIDUALS DURING HEZBOLLAH'S BLUE LINE MEDIA TOUR

Fri 21 Apr 2017
NNA - The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon said, in a statement on Friday, that contacts were underway with the Lebanese army following news reports claiming the presence of armed individuals during the media tour organized by Hezbollah along the Blue Line yesterday. 
"Shortly before the media delegation reached the area yesterday morning, the Lebanese army notified the UNIFIL of a media tour along the Blue Line, without mentioning any other detail," the UNIFIL said. 
"As to reports speaking of the presence of armed individuals among the delegation, the UNIFIL reminds that this would be a breach of resolution 1701; and as per the resolution, the Lebanese authorities bear the main responsibility to verify the presence of unauthorized armed individuals in the area between the Blue Line and Litani River," the statement read. 
"Following those reporters, the UNIFIL is holding contacts with the Lebanese Armed Forces to determine the circumstances of what happened," it concluded. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI VISITS UNIFIL HEADQUARTERS

21 Apr 2017 - Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri today paid his first visit to the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), as part of his tour of the UNIFIL area of operations in southern Lebanon.

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary received the Prime Minister and his delegation comprising Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) General Joseph Aoun, and a number of senior LAF officers and government officials.

In his briefing to the high-level government delegation, Major General Beary expressed his deep appreciation for the excellent cooperation accorded by the Government of Lebanon and LAF in the fulfilment of UNIFIL's mandate in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 1701.

The UNIFIL head also said that the cooperation between UNIFIL and LAF has been crucial for preserving stability along the Blue Line for more than 10 years.

The Prime Minister lauded UNIFIL's commitment and role working together with the LAF to maintain stability along the Blue Line. "I am here today to reaffirm my Government's commitment, with all its components, to Security Council Resolution 1701," he said.

He added: "I urge the UN Secretary-General to support efforts to secure, as soon as possible, a state of permanent ceasefire. This is long overdue, and my Government is committed to move this agenda forward."

He further requested the UN Secretary-General's good offices for the delineation of Lebanon's international borders especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain. 

Major General Beary commended Prime Minister Hariri for reaffirming Lebanon's commitment to resolution 1701 and a permanent ceasefire.

"UNIFIL has been here for too many years," said the UNIFIL head. "We really need to get to a point where we are discussing permanent ceasefire and make sure that that term enters into the lexicon here and we move on to a real settlement."


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT GROUP (ISG) FOR LEBANON: TO INTENSIFIE EFFORTS, CARRY OUT FREE ELECTIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH CONSTITUTION

Tue 18 Apr 2017
NNA - The members of the ISG take note of the decision of President Michel Aoun of 12 April to adjourn the chamber for one month. They also take note of Speaker Nabih Berri's announcement to convene the next session on 15 May. 
In the spirit of sustaining progress, the ISG members encourage Lebanon's leaders to make maximum use of the resulting time frame to intensify their efforts to arrive at an agreed electoral framework for free and fair elections, in accordance with the Constitution. 
The ISG members stress once more the importance of timely elections to preserve Lebanon's democratic process and call upon Lebanon's leaders to reach an agreement as soon as possible through political consultations. 
It is worth to note that the International Support Group has brought together the governments of China, France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with the European Union and the Arab League. 
It was launched in September 2013 by the UN Secretary-General with President Sleiman to help mobilize support and assistance for Lebanon's stability, sovereignty and state institutions and to specifically encourage assistance for the Lebanese Army, Syrian refugees in Lebanon and host communities and government programs and public services impacted by the Syrian crisis. 

Monday, April 03, 2017

SECURITY COUNCIL STATEMENT ON LEBANON AND RESOLUTION 1701

17 Mar2017

SECURITY COUNCIL STATEMENT ON LEBANON AND RESOLUTION 1701

Statement Delivered by Security Council President, Matthew Rycroft (United Kingdom) at the press stakeout on behalf of the Security Council following Security Council session on Lebanon and implementation of resolution 1701

Friday, 17 March 2017

The members of the Security Council welcomed the political and institutional progress that Lebanon has achieved since the election of a President and nomination of a Prime Minister. The resumption of regular cabinet meetings and parliamentary legislative sessions are encouraging signs that Lebanon's institutions of State are again functioning effectively. The members of the Security Council urged all Lebanese political forces to continue national dialogue in order to solve all problems.

In the spirit of sustaining this institutional progress, the members of the Security Council stressed that the timely conduct of peaceful and transparent parliamentary elections in accordance with the Constitution, and reflecting the country's democratic traditions, will be critical for Lebanon's stability and resilience to withstand regional challenges. The members of the Security Council underlined that the political progress to date also represents an opportunity to continue strengthening and extending the authority of the Lebanese State.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon. They expressed support for Resolutions 1701, 1680 and 1559. They recalled that it is essential to continue to demonstrate genuine commitment and adherence to Resolution 1701 and other relevant resolutions.

Finally the members of Security Council urged all parties to make every effort to ensure that the cessation of hostilities is sustained, exercise maximum calm and restraint and refrain from any action or rhetoric that could jeopardize the cessation of hostilities or destabilize the region.

The members of the Security Council stressed the crucial role of the Lebanese Armed Forces and encouraged to international community to continue their support to the LAF's capabilities, stretched by multiple challenges. In this context the members of the Security Council welcomed the appointment of General Joseph Aoun.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their strong support to the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon and encouraged the International Support Group for Lebanon to remain mobilized in support of Lebanon's political and socio-economic stability.





Thursday, February 23, 2017

MEMBERS OF ISG ENCOURAGE EARLY COMPROMISE FOR APPROPRIATE ELECTORAL FRAMEWORK FOR LEBANON


22 Feb2017

MEMBERS OF ISG ENCOURAGE EARLY COMPROMISE FOR APPROPRIATE ELECTORAL FRAMEWORK FOR LEBANON

Joint Statement of the International Support Group for Lebanon

The Members of the International Support Group (ISG) reaffirm their commitment to the stability and security of Lebanon. The current political momentum has re-activated Lebanon's institutions of state.

The ISG Members encourage all parties to arrive at an early compromise, which would present an appropriate electoral framework for Lebanon. The timely conduct of peaceful and transparent parliamentary elections are an important step to preserve Lebanon's democratic tradition, and to meet the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

The ISG Members stand ready to provide support.

Note to Editors

The International Support Group has brought together the governments of China, France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with the European Union and the Arab League.  It was launched in September 2013 by the UN Secretary-General with President Sleiman to help mobilize support and assistance for Lebanon's stability, sovereignty and state institutions and to specifically encourage assistance for the Lebanese Army,  Syrian refugees in Lebanon and host communities and government programs and public services impacted by the Syrian crisis.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Feb 14 2017

Excerpt  

**Lebanon
We've been asked about recent remarks attributed to President Michel Aoun of Lebanon concerning Hizbullah's weapons.

I'd like to recall that Security Council resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701 clearly call for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.  Previous reports by the Secretary-General have said that militias should be disarmed and that the maintenance of arms by Hizbullah and other groups outside the control of the State restricts Lebanon's ability to exercise its full sovereignty and authority over its territory.

We consider continued adherence to all relevant resolutions to be of vital importance to Lebanon's stability.  We encourage Lebanon to seize the current political momentum to resume discussions on a National Defense Strategy as part of a Lebanese-led and Lebanese-owned process.