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

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



 I.  Introduction



1.  The current report provides a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) since the last report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/406) was issued on 1 July 2011.


 II.  Implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) 





 C.  Disarming armed groups 



35.  In spite of the decision taken in 2006 by the National Dialogue of Lebanese leaders, and confirmed in subsequent meetings of the National Dialogue, no progress was made with regard to dismantling the military bases maintained by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and by Fatah al-Intifada. All but one of the bases are located along the Lebanese-Syrian border. Their presence continues to compromise Lebanese sovereignty and governmental authority. It also poses a challenge to the effective control of the eastern border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. I have called consistently upon the Lebanese authorities 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. 

36.  The security situation in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh remained precarious. On 5 and 6 August, following an assassination attempt against the military commander of Fatah in Lebanon, heavy clashes between armed factions erupted in Ain el-Hilweh. A ceasefire was agreed upon after hours of fighting that left a number of people injured. A school of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, causing material damages. Fears remain that the conditions of hardship inside the camp could strengthen radical militant groups operating inside it. Notwithstanding those incidents, Lebanese authorities deemed that cooperation on camp security with Palestinian security officials in the camps continued to be satisfactory. The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, visited Lebanon from 16 to 19 August and stressed that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon had no need for weapons and must abide by Lebanon’s domestic laws. 

37.  A rise in the number of security incidents took place during the reporting period, highlighting the threat to Lebanon’s sovereignty posed by armed groups outside the control of the State and by the proliferation of weapons in the country. On 12 September, as a result of a personal dispute, fierce clashes involving the use of heavy weapons took place between militants of Hizbullah and armed Palestinians at the outskirts of Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut, leaving several people injured. On 19 September, 16 people were also reportedly wounded in an armed clash that erupted between two local families in the district of Saida. In a positive development, the Estonian nationals who were kidnapped in March were released on 14 July. Subsequently, on 20 September, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces confronted the alleged kidnappers of the seven Estonian nationals in a West Bekaa village, and killed two men and arrested another four.

38.  I continue to believe that the disarmament of armed groups should be carried out through a Lebanese-led process that will bring the full restoration of the authority of the Government of Lebanon over all its territory, so that there are no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than those of the State. Lebanese leaders committed to such a process in May 2008, when they decided to convene a National Dialogue Committee to agree on a national defence strategy, which, in turn, would have to consider the issue of weapons outside the control of the State. However, the National Dialogue Committee has not met since 4 November 2010. I welcome President Sleiman’s assurance when I met him in New York on 22 September that he would re-convene the National Dialogue as soon as possible.




 V.  Observations



74.  The situation of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon continues to be a matter of concern. I call on the Government of Lebanon to implement the amendments to the Lebanese Labour Code and Social Security Law that were adopted in August 2010, in order to effectively improve the prospects for employment of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. I am very concerned by the continued funding shortfalls faced by UNRWA, both for the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared camp and for its regular programmes aimed at delivering basic education and health care to the Palestinian refugees. I urge donors, including countries in the region, to continue, and if possible increase, their support for UNRWA. Progress in ensuring the full realization of the rights of Palestinian refugees is without prejudice to the resolution of the Palestinian refugee question in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace agreement.


78.  I call on both Israel and Lebanon to take the necessary steps to achieve what resolution 1701 (2006) terms a long-term solution governing their relations. It continues to be my profound conviction that achieving that solution and ensuring the full territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon cannot and should not be dissociated from the need to exert all possible efforts to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, on the basis of the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1515 (2003). 



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