Thursday, October 29, 2009


A day after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged maximum restraint by all sides, United Nations peacekeepers today found four more rockets, three of them set to be fired, in an area of southern Lebanon from which a missile zoomed into Israel on Monday.

“Such attacks are evidently aimed at provoking renewed hostilities to undermine the security and stability in south Lebanon,” the UN Interim Force in Lebanon UNIFIL said in a news release, in which it also voiced concern at Israel’s return fire of artillery shells on Monday.

It noted that rocket fire from Lebanon is a serious violation of Security Council resolution 1701 of 2006, which calls for an end to hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah militants, respect for the so-called Blue Line separating the Israeli and Lebanese sides, disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling.

“In recent months, a number of serious incidents took place in UNIFIL’s area of operations,” it said. “Such incidents constitute a significant challenge for the parties as well as for UNIFIL and have particularly strained the security and liaison arrangements that are in place to maintain the cessation of hostilities.”

The mission said UNIFIL, in cooperation with the Lebanese army, had been able to contain the incidents, working in close coordination with the parties to prevent any further escalation, and it strongly urged the sides to continue to resort to the existing liaison and coordination mechanism.

“On its part, UNIFIL will do its utmost to ensure full respect of the relevant provisions of resolution 1701 that include taking all necessary action, in close cooperation with the LAF [Lebanese armed forces], to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind,” the statement concluded.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ban urges restraint after latest rocket firing from Lebanon into Israel

28 October 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged maximum restraint by all sides after a recent incident in which a rocket was fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, prompting Israelis forces to return fire.
The rocket was fired at around 6:50 p.m. on Monday from Houla in southern Lebanon and struck the vicinity of the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, according to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has launched an investigation into the incident in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) returned fire with artillery rounds towards the direction of where the rocket was launched. There were no reports of casualties on either side.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban condemned the firing, and urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint.
“All parties must fully adhere to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and respect the cessation of hostilities agreement,” the statement said, referring to the resolution which helped to end the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah three years ago.
Resolution 1701 calls for respect for the so-called Blue Line that separates Israeli and Lebanese sides, the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling, among other measures.
UNIFIL said that it has deployed additional troops and a reaction force in the area, in coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
UN and Lebanese forces are also in the process of investigating a number of similar incidents that have occurred in recent weeks.


New York, Oct 28 2009 United Nations peacekeepers have launched an investigation into a recent incident in which a rocket was fired from Houla in southern Lebanon and struck the vicinity of Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel.
The rocket firing occurred at around 6:50 p.m. hours on Monday, according to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon UNIFIL.
It added that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) retaliated with artillery fire aimed at the area from where the rocket originated.
UNIFIL has no reports of casualties on either side. It is in contact with both parties, urging them to exercise maximum restraint, uphold the cessation of hostilities and avoid taking steps which would lead to further escalation.
The Force, in coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces, has deployed additional troops and a reaction force in the area.
UN and Lebanese forces are also in the process of investigating a number of similar incidents that have occurred in recent weeks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


New York, Oct 27 2009
Disbanding militias in Lebanon – especially Hizbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006 – is “of vital importance” to the country’s democracy and sovereignty, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in a new report, where he voices satisfaction at progress made towards stability.

“The threats posed by the existence of militias outside the control of the State, especially Hizbollah’s vast paramilitary infrastructure, cannot be overstated,” he writes, calling on the militant group’s leaders to transform into a purely political Lebanese party.

“For this reason, I appeal to all parties, inside and outside of Lebanon, to halt immediately all efforts to transfer or acquire weapons and to build paramilitary capacities outside the authority of the State,” he adds, noting “with deep concern” that Hizbollah leaders have publicly spoken of the support it provides to Palestinian militants, including military assistance.

The report, the latest on implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559 of 2004 calling for free and fair elections, an end to foreign interference and disbanding of all militias, calls Hizbollah’s arsenal a direct challenge to the sovereignty of the Lebanese State and cites Palestinian militias as “another serious threat.”

Mr. Ban also notes that Israel, violating Lebanon’s sovereignty and relevant Security Council resolutions, continues to fly into Lebanese air space, has still not withdrawn from the northern part of the town of Ghajar, and that diplomatic efforts to resolve Shab’a Farms, another disputed area, have not yet yielded any positive results. “I deplore these violations and call on Israel to cease such overflights,” he writes.

He also notes that conditions of hardship inside Palestinian refugee camps are strengthening radical groups and calls for improving the living conditions of the refugees “in the best interest of the wider security situation in the country.”

On the positive side, Mr. Ban cited the highest voter turnout in Lebanese history in recent parliamentary elections, which was hailed as a major success with international and local observers deeming them free and fair despite shortfalls. He also noted the opening of full diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria, which for years maintained troops in its smaller neighbour, with embassies in each other’s capitals for the first time since their independence.

But despite his efforts to encourage both countries to begin the full delineation of their common border, little tangible progress has been made, he reports.

Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy on the implementation of resolution 1559, Terje Roed-Larsen, briefed the Security Council on the contents of the report today.

UN investigates as more explosions reported in southern Lebanon

19 October 2009 – The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has launched an investigation into explosions that occurred during the weekend in the southern part of the country, the second incident of its kind in less than a week.
No injuries have been reported, according to UN spokesperson Michele Montas.
“Preliminary indications are that these explosions were caused by explosive charges contained in unattended underground sensors which were placed in this area by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), apparently during the 2006 war,” she told reporters in New York.
Ms. Montas said the Interim Force immediately launched an investigation to ascertain all the facts and circumstances relating to the presence of these devices and to establish how the explosions were triggered.
UNIFIL investigators are working in close coordination and cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
They are also in the process of looking into a reported explosion that occurred on 12 October in the southern town of Tayr Felsay.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


New York, Oct 21 2009
The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon met today with the head of the Arab League to discuss several recent incidents, including the September rocket attack on Israel and the discovery of some listening devices in south Lebanon.

Michael Williams told reporters in Cairo afterwards that he and Amr Moussa are “disturbed” by these challenges to resolution 1701 – the 2006 Security Council text that helped to end that year’s war between Israel and Hizbollah.

Mr. Williams said that they agreed that it is very important to help move the parties forward towards a permanent ceasefire, in accordance with resolution 1701, which calls for respect for the so-called Blue Line that separates Israeli and Lebanese sides, the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling, among other measures.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had condemned the incident on 11 September, in which at least two rockets were fired into northern Israel from southern Lebanon.

He urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint, noting that such incidents pose a serious challenge to the implementation of resolution 1701.

In recent weeks, several explosions have occurred in southern Lebanon. They are being investigated by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon in conjunction with the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


New York, Oct 14 2009 The General Assembly is expected to elect Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Liberia and Nigeria as non-permanent members of the Security Council for two-year terms starting on 1 January next year.
The five countries are set to run unopposed in their respective regions when voting takes place tomorrow at United Nations Headquarters in New York. This would mark the first time since 2004 that there has been a Security Council election with no contested seats.
Gabon and Nigeria have been endorsed as candidates by the African group and, if chosen, would succeed Burkina Faso and Libya. Brazil is set to replace Costa Rica in the Latin American and Caribbean category.
In Eastern Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only declared candidate for the seat currently held by Croatia, while Lebanon won regional endorsement from the Asian group to succeed Viet Nam.
Council elections are conducted by secret ballot in the General Assembly, and winning candidates requires a two-thirds majority of ballots of members present and voting. Formal balloting takes place even when there is only one declared candidate per available seat.
The five countries chosen tomorrow will join Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda, whose terms on the 15-member body end on 31 December 2010. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Oct 13 2009 The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon said it is investigating, together with the national armed forces, a reported explosion that occurred on Monday in the southern town of Tayr Felsay. A patrol from the UN force, known as UNIFIL, and a Lebanese patrol visited the site of the incident at around 11:30 last night. This morning, a UNIFIL investigation team, jointly with the Lebanese Armed Forces investigation team, inspected the site and the surrounding area. “They are still in the process of analyzing the information and the available evidence to ascertain the circumstances and establish the facts concerning this incident,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters. Michael Williams, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said after a meeting today with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri that he was concerned about the reports of an explosion at Tayr Felsay. “We are keeping a close eye on this, because of its relevance to resolution 1701,” adding that he would await the outcome of the investigations. Adopted three years ago, resolution 1701 helped to end the 2006 war between Hizbollah and Israel. It also called for renewed respect for the Blue Line separating the Lebanese forces and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling, among other elements. Mr. Williams and Mr. Hariri also discussed the process of forming a government in Lebanon, which has still not taken place some four months after elections. “The United Nations has repeatedly stressed the importance of forming the government as soon as possible to tackle the many challenges facing the country,” said Mr. Williams.