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Fears over Collapse of International Protection for Lebanon

Fears over Collapse of International Protection for Lebanon

Saturday, 7 September, 2019 - 06:00
A UN peacekeeper of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) walks near a poster depicting Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Reuters file photo

Divisions among Security Council member states on the situation in Lebanon are growing, UN diplomats revealed on Friday, expressing fears that an international support for the country’s stability could be eroding.


France struggled this week to press the Security Council to issue a statement condemning all violations of the Lebanese-Israeli border, and calling upon all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities.


A diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat that efforts have been exerted to prevent the breakdown of the “unanimous consensus on the protection of Lebanon’s stability following the increasing regional and international tension.”


The diplomat was referring to the Israeli strikes against Iran’s allies in the region, including Hezbollah.


The French text, which was blocked by the US, expressed "deep concern at the recent incidents" during a flare-up between Israel and Hezbollah across the "Blue Line" border.


The draft added that "members of the Security Council condemned all violations of the Blue Line, both by air and ground" and strongly called upon all parties "to respect the cessation of hostilities.”


The US blocked the French statement because it placed Israel’s right to self-determination on an equal footing with Hezbollah, which it considers a terrorist organization.


Any statement by the Council must be backed by all 15 members.


Commenting on the latest developments at the Lebanese-Israeli border, Russia's permanent representative at the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that Moscow did not intervene to stop the recent attacks on Lebanon because the statements issued by both sides showed that the phase of mutual retaliation was over.


“We do not control the Lebanese airspace and therefore we lack any measures to prevent such incidents from taking place,” the ambassador said.


Nebenzya said that what happened in Lebanon last week does not contribute to stability in the region, considering the recent incidents as “very unfortunate.”


A western diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat, “There is an equation stipulating the protection of Lebanon’s sovereignty and the preservation of Israel’s security.”


The diplomat called on all sides for “self-restraint," saying no party has an interest in engaging in a war.


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