Monday, November 14, 2011


New York, Nov 14 2011 6:10PM
Lebanon must regain control of its borders to ensure stability, a senior United Nations official said today, expressing his concern over recent incursions of the Syrian military into the Middle East country.

The acting UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Robert Watkins said these incursions imply a lack of Government control over its borders with Syria, and underscored the importance of demarcating those boundaries to ensure security and stability.

Mr. Watkins' remarks were made after his meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut. During the meeting, Mr. Watkins spoke to Mr. Mikati about the latest report on Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanon-based group Hizbollah.

Mr. Watkins noted there has been a rather stable period in the south of the country.

"We were very pleased with the overall stability that has taken place in the south in the last period," he said, adding progress had also been made in the marking of the Blue Line, the border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel.

However, he remarked that in spite of these advancements, "there has been no progress made towards a permanent ceasefire."

Mr. Watkins also expressed his concern about the establishment of national dialogue in Lebanon, and said developments in this area are crucial so that "Lebanon can start moving towards the development of a more coherent national defense strategy."