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Israel-Lebanon borders stable despite attacks

Israel-Lebanon borders stable despite attacks

Southern Lebanon and northern Israel have experienced their longest period of stability in decades despite the worst violations of a 2006 cease-fire during the recent war in Gaza, the U.N.'s special coordinator for Lebanon said Tuesday.
The cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah militants "continues to hold" but much remains to be done to fully implement Security Council resolution 1701 that ended their 34-day conflict, including disarming Hezbollah and all other militias, Michael Williams told reporters after a closed-door briefing to the U.N. Security Council.
In a report to the council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the firing of rockets from southern Lebanon toward Israel during the Gaza conflict in December and January as "serious violations" of the 2006 cease-fire resolution. The fact that Israel returned fire without prior warning to U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon is also "a cause of serious concern," he said.
Williams said "the past months have witnessed the most serious violations by both parties of their obligations under 1701 since it was adopted."
"On the positive side, the resolution has continued to ensure a cessation of hostilities between the parties and the longest period of stability that south Lebanon has known in decades," he said. "There is a stability on Israel's northern border which it has not known since the 1980s."
In other positive developments, Williams said the internal political situation in Lebanon in the run-up to June 7 general elections "remains good."
He also cited the establishment of diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria, and moves toward reconciliation in the Arab world "which I think have an enormously positive effect on the situation on the ground in Lebanon."
But Williams said "there are many other issues in 1701 where very little progress has been achieved."
The resolution reiterates a call for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, bans arms transfers to any group except the Lebanese armed forces, and urges the Lebanese government to secure its borders to prevent arms smuggling.
It also calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution based on full respect for the U.N.-drawn Blue Line along their border and security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities.
Williams said the national dialogue in Lebanon under President Michel Suleiman "has had enormously beneficial effect on the country in enhancing national stability, but where the question of the disarmament of armed groups is making only slow process."
He expressed hope that the government elected in June can move the issue forward.
"It's difficult to take the weapons out of politics. it needs to be done. it needs to be a Lebanese-led process," Williams said,
He said there have been "some improvements" on border control and management following the establishment of Lebanon-Syria diplomatic relations but he said Syria has not yet appointed a representative to the joint border committee.
Syria also hasn't appointed an ambassador to Lebanon, Williams said. "That appointment, I'm sure, would be enormously beneficial to stability in Lebanon."
He expressed hope that once a new Israeli government is formed "very quick progress" can be made in resolving the dispute over Gadjar, a border town in Lebanon, leading to a withdrawal from the northern part of the village and the deployment of Italian and Spanish police.
"One looks forward to the day when Lebanon is like most other states, and where the government, the state itself, has a monopoly on the means of violence," Williams said.


Updated : 2021-03-02 21:55 GMT+08:00