UN Chief: Hezbollah Weapons Threaten Stability
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “grave concern” that Hezbollah’s weapons would “endanger the stability of Lebanon and the region.”
In an implicit reference to Iran, Guterres called on member states to “carry out their duties” in terms of not supplying arms and military equipment to entities and individuals in Lebanon. He also urged the Lebanese government to take “all necessary measures” to disarm the militias in accordance with the Taif Agreement and international resolutions.
The new Lebanese government is encouraged to abide by the policy of dissociation, in line with the Baabda Declaration of 2012, said the secretary-general in his latest report on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1701.
He also emphasized that all Lebanese powers must “stop interfering in the Syrian war and other conflicts in the region,” denouncing the “alleged movement of fighters and military equipment across the Lebanese-Syrian border.”
Turning to the Lebanese-Israeli border, Guterres voiced “deep concern” over the presence of tunnels along the Blue Line and urged the Lebanese army to conduct all necessary investigations to ensure that the border tunnels were no longer a security threat.
He strongly encouraged Lebanon and Israel to reach an agreement on resolving the points of contention along the Blue Line, stressing that unilateral actions in these areas would escalate tensions and must be avoided. He expressed the readiness of UN Special Coordinator in Lebanon Jan Kubis and UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Commander General Stefano Del Cole to assist in this regard.
The top UN official said he was deeply concerned about the continuation of Israeli air breaches, saying that they constituted a violation of resolution 1701 and Lebanese sovereignty. He also rejected the continued occupation of the northern part of the town of Ghajar and the adjacent area north of the Blue Line, condemning “all violations of Lebanese sovereignty.”
His remarks were made days before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to arrive in Beirut, which is hoping for Washington’s support to return Syrian refugees back to their homeland.