30 July 2006
Security Council
SC/8791

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5499th Meeting (Night)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES ‘SHOCK AND DISTRESS’ AT ISRAELI SHELLING IN QANA;


STRONGLY DEPLORES LOSS OF INNOCENT LIVES IN PRESENT CONFLICT


Requests Secretary-General to Report Within One Week on Tragic Incident


Expressing “extreme shock and distress” at the Israeli Defence Forces’ shelling of a residential building in southern Lebanon, the United Nations Security Council this evening called for “an end to violence”, and vowed to begin work immediately on a resolution that would lead to a lasting settlement of the crisis, drawing on diplomatic efforts already under way.


“The Security Council expresses its concern at the threat of escalation of violence, with further grave consequences for the humanitarian situation …and underscores the urgency of securing a lasting, permanent and sustainable ceasefire,” said Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation body this month, reading out an agreed statement (S/PRST/2006/35) in a formal meeting that capped a day of intense negotiations to formulate a response to last night’s Israeli air strike on the Lebanese village of Qana, which had killed more than 50 people.


The Council’s reaction followed an emergency meeting this morning, at which Secretary-General Kofi Annan had warned that its “authority and standing” were at stake if it did not act quickly to end the weeks-long violence between Israel and Hizbollah.  In his briefing to the Council, Mr. Annan said the most urgent need now was to bring the fighting to a halt without further delay.  “For that, this Council has a solemn responsibility,” he added, reiterating his call for an immediate cessation of hostilities to allow humanitarian relief to reach the victims.


The Council’s statement strongly deplored the loss of innocent lives and the killing of civilians in the present conflict, and requested the Secretary-General to report on the circumstances of the tragic incident within one week.


“The Security Council expresses again its utmost concern at the Lebanese and Israeli civilian casualties and human suffering, the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and the increased number of internally displaced persons,” the Council President said in the statement, urging all parties to grant immediate access to humanitarian assistance.


The Council also deplored any action against United Nations personnel and called for full respect for the safety and security of all United Nations personnel and premises.


The meeting convened at 8:30 p.m. and ended at 8:35 p.m.


Presidential Statement


The full text of S/PRST/2006/35 reads as follows:


“The Security Council expresses its extreme shock and distress at the shelling by the Israeli Defense Forces of a residential building in Qana, in southern Lebanon, which has caused the killing of dozens of civilians, mostly children, and injured many others.  The Security Council sends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Lebanese people.


“The Security Council strongly deplores this loss of innocent lives and the killing of civilians in the present conflict, and requests the Secretary-General to report to it within one week on the circumstances of this tragic incident.


“The Security Council expresses its concern at the threat of escalation of violence, with further grave consequences for the humanitarian situation, calls for an end to violence, and underscores the urgency of securing a lasting, permanent and sustainable ceasefire.


“The Security Council expresses again its utmost concern at the Lebanese and Israeli civilian casualties and human suffering, the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and the increased number of internally displaced persons.


“The Security Council urges all parties to grant immediate and unlimited access to humanitarian assistance.


“The Security Council deplores any action against United Nations personnel, and calls for full respect for the safety and security of all United Nations personnel and premises.


“The Security Council affirms its determination to work without any further delay to adopt a resolution for a lasting settlement of the crisis, drawing on diplomatic efforts underway.


“The Security Council remains seized of the matter.”


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For information media • not an official record