30 October 2006 While acknowledging that progress has been made over the past two years in reducing foreign influence in Lebanon, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that disarming Hizbollah is a “key element” in ensuring a permanent end to hostilities, and warned that much remains to be done to restore stability and peace.
The Security Council, meeting to discuss Mr. Annan’s latest report on resolution 1559, which calls for the reduction of foreign influence in Lebanon, said in a presidential statement it welcomed the Lebanese army’s deployment in the south and other signs of progress, but noted “with regret” that disarming of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias had not yet happened.
“The eventual disarmament of Hizbollah in the sense of the completion of its transformation into a solely political party… is a key element in ensuring a permanent end to the hostilities,” Mr. Annan said in the report, his fourth to the Council on resolution 1559.
“In the months ahead, Lebanon will have to engage again in a truly national and inclusive dialogue. The disarming and disbanding of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias… can only be achieved through an inclusive process that addresses the political and economic interests of all Lebanese and of those living in Lebanon.”
Mr. Annan’s report, covering developments in the past six months in Lebanon, was delivered to the 15-member body by Terje Roed-Larsen, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the implementation of resolution 1559, and it also highlights continued Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Persistent and provocative Israeli air incursions, occasionally reaching deep into Lebanese airspace and generating sonic booms over populated areas, continued to be a matter of serious concern… Israeli overflights have also continued since the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah went into effect on 14 August 2006.”
The report also emphasizes the importance of establishing “full diplomatic relations between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic and their delineation of the shared border, including, in particular, in the Shab’a Farms area,” stating that such a bilateral agreement would “constitute significant steps towards promoting peace and security in the region.”
In its statement, the Council also reaffirmed its strong support for the “territorial integrity, sovereignty, unity and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders,” and further called on all the country’s neighbours to help fulfil resolution 1559.
“The Security Council reiterates its call for the full implementation of resolution 1559 (2004) and urges all concerned States and parties as mentioned in the report to cooperate fully with the Government of Lebanon, the Security Council, and the Secretary-General to achieve this goal.”