4 March 2010 The implementation of the 2006 Security Council resolution calling for a full halt to fighting between Israel and Hizbollah topped a senior United Nations official’s talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri today.
Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams told Mr. Hariri in the capital, Beirut, that he will brief the Council on 12 March on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on the implementation of resolution 1701.
That resolution greatly increased the UN peacekeeping force – known as UNIFIL – in the conflict zone, and also called for respect of the so-called Blue Line separating the Israeli and Lebanese sides, disarming militias including Hizbollah, and an end to arms smuggling, among other measures.
The report, he said, highlights the fact that, in spite of recent rhetoric, the situation along the Blue Line continues to be relatively stable and that all parties are still committed to the cessation of hostilities and to the implementation of the resolution.
“While this is important and positive, it should not detract from the importance of working towards a permanent ceasefire as called for in resolution 1701,” Mr. Williams said after his talks with the Prime Minister.
Other topics covered in the meeting included yesterday’s decision by the Lebanese Cabinet to appoint Minister of State Jean Ogasapian as the coordinator for the development of a plan to manage the country’s borders.
The UN official also welcomed President Michel Sleiman’s decision to convene a national dialogue to discuss a defence strategy for Lebanon as well as arms outside state control.
“It is a longstanding belief of the United Nations that this issue should be addressed through a Lebanese political process, and we believe reconvening the national dialogue is important in this regard,” he said.
Mr. Williams noted that a Cabinet meeting will be held today on the draft municipal elections law, which he said “will perhaps be another important development and an indication of the exercise of the regular democratic process in Lebanon and of continuing efforts of reform.”
In a meeting last week with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised the ongoing discussions on Ghajar, voicing hope that there will be speedy progress on the proposal put forward by UNIFIL for an Israeli withdrawal from the village as called for in resolution 1701.
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