Lebanon situation/armed groups – SecGen fourteenth report under S/RES/1701 – Report(excerpts)

Fourteenth report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) 



 II.  Implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and other related resolutions 




 C.  Disarming armed groups 



37.  The presence of Palestinian armed groups outside the camps continues to challenge the ability of Lebanon to exercise full sovereignty over its territory. This was further illustrated by the statement made on 31 August by Ahmad Jibril, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), to the effect that his organization would not hand over its weapons to the Lebanese authorities. I have called upon the Government of Lebanon to dismantle the PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada military bases, and on the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to cooperate with these efforts. Regrettably, there has been no progress during the reporting period towards the disarming of such groups, as called for by Lebanese leaders at the Committee of National Dialogue session of 2006 and reaffirmed in subsequent sessions of the national dialogue since 2008 and the Ministerial Statement of November 2009. 

38.  On 13 August, Abd al-Rahman Awad, the alleged leader of Fateh al-Islam in Lebanon, and his deputy reportedly died in a confrontation with the Lebanese Armed Forces in the Bekaa Valley while attempting to flee Lebanon. Awad had been sentenced in absentia in relation to a number of bomb attacks and killings over the past three years. According to Lebanese security officials, he recently had been in hiding in Ain al-Hilweh camp, near Saida. 

39.  The security situation inside the Palestinian refugee camps has been generally calm during the reporting period, with only a few incidents reported, thanks to increased cooperation on security issues between Palestinian factions and Lebanese security agencies. On 7 September, tensions rose in Ain al-Hilweh camp when a group believed to have sympathies for Al-Qaida publicly threatened to assassinate a local Fatah leader responsible for security cooperation with Lebanese authorities.

40.  Addressing the dismal living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon would have a positive impact on the security situation within the camps and would reduce potential security threats to Lebanon as a whole. This much needed improvement in the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon would, of course, be without prejudice to a resolution of the Palestinian refugee question in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace agreement. On 17 August, the Parliament of Lebanon adopted significant amendments to the Labour Code and the Social Security Law which should improve access to the private sector labour market by Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The United Nations welcomed these decisions as a step in the right direction and looks forward to their effective implementation. 

41.  It is important that the disarmament of armed groups in Lebanon be achieved through a Lebanese-led political process. In this connection, on 19 August President Sleiman chaired a new session of the Committee of National Dialogue, during which participants heard and debated a presentation on a future national defence strategy and agreed to continue studying the strategy on the basis of the proposals presented so far and those expected to be presented by participants. Participants further reaffirmed the importance of national consensus and the consolidation of political and security stability in the country. They committed themselves to the decisions that had been approved by previous sessions of the Committee of National Dialogue, in particular those related to the disarmament of Palestinian groups outside the camps. They agreed to reconvene on 4 November 2010.


 D.  Arms embargo 



49.  The Lebanese authorities deem cooperation with their Syrian counterparts with regard to the management of the border, in particular as it relates to security issues, as satisfactory. At the same time, the effective management of the border continues to be adversely affected by the fact that it is neither delineated nor demarcated, and by the continued presence of Palestinian military bases that straddle the border between the two countries.



 V.  Observations 



70.  I call upon the Government of Lebanon to implement past decisions taken by the Committee of National Dialogue, as reiterated by participants at its most recent session, held on 19 August, with respect to the elimination of Palestinian military bases outside the camps. Lebanese authorities recognize that since most of these bases straddle the border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic and can be accessed from Syrian territory, cooperation between the two countries is essential to achieving this goal.


74.  The situation of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon remains a subject of serious concern. Respect for the basic human rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon requires decisive action to improve their living standards. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) continues to face significant funding shortfalls both for its regular programmes, aimed at delivering basic services to the Palestinian refugees, and for the reconstruction of the Nahr al-Bared camp. I call upon the Government of Lebanon and the donor community to continue their efforts to address the dire socio-economic situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon as a matter of priority. I further urge donors, including countries in the region, to continue, and if possible increase, their support for UNRWA. 

75.  I remain keenly aware that the implementation by Israel and Lebanon of their obligations under resolution 1701 (2006) is greatly influenced by dynamics affecting the region as a whole. Tangible progress in the Middle East peace process would contribute to a positive momentum as concerns the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and the stability of Lebanon.

76.  I call on both Israel and Lebanon to take the steps necessary to reach a permanent ceasefire and to achieve what the Security Council in its resolution 1701 (2006) terms a long-term solution governing their relations. The achievement of that solution cannot and should not be dissociated from the need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all relevant resolutions of the Council, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1515 (2003). I call upon the parties and upon all Member States to work decisively towards that goal. 




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