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*New [UNSCR1701]

2006 Video Webcasts of Security Council Meeting on UNSCR1701

11 August 06

Security Council: The situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - English: PM Session 2 hours and 7 minutes]
[Webcast: Archived Video - Original Language: PM Session 2 hours and 8 minutes]

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by United States Secretary of State, Condeleeza Rice, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 50 seconds]

 

08 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr AL-THANI, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 10 minutes] [English and Arabic]

08 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Amre Moussa, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 17 minutes] [English and Arabic]

08 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, Ambassador Dan Gillerman, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 9 minutes]

08 August 06 Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Permanent Representative of Lebanon, Minister of Culture and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tarek Mitri, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 6 minutes] [English and Arabic]
08 August 06

Security Council: The situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - English: 44 minutes]
[Webcast: Archived Video - Original Language: 44 minutes]

08 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the President of the Security Council, the Permanent Representative of Ghana, Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng, on the situation in Haiti and the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 5 minutes]

08 August 06

Security Council: General issues relating to sanctions.
[Webcast: Archived Video - English: 3 minutes]

07 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Permanent Representative of the United States of America, Ambassador John Bolton, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 9 minutes]

07 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the President of the Security Council, the Permanent Representative of Ghana, Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 9 minutes]

07 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Permanent Representative of Qatar, Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 6 minutes]

07 August 06

Security Council: The situation in Côte d' Ivoire.
[Webcast: Archived Video - English: 8 minutes]

07 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, Yahya Mahmassani, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 4 minutes] [English and Arabic]

07 August 06

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Permanent Representative of France, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, on the situation in the Middle East.
[Webcast: Archived Video - 5 minutes]

Welcome to the Cedar's Revolution Website

 

UN Documents

October 31, 2006

Security Council 5559th Meeting* (Night)

In presidential statement, Security Council reiterates call for disbanding of militias; respect for sovereignty, independence of lebanon

Despite noting important progress in the extension of Government authority throughout Lebanon, the Security Council this afternoon reiterated its call for the disbanding of militias and strict respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of that country, along with all other unmet provisions of its resolution 1559 (2004).

Through a statement (document S/PRST/2006/43) read out by its October President, Kenzo Oshima of Japan, the Council expressed regret that such provisions, which also require free and fair presidential elections conducted according to Lebanese Constitutional rules without foreign interference, have yet to be implemented.

The Council commended the Lebanese Government for extending its authority in the southern part of the country, in particular, and encouraged it to continue its efforts in that regard.

The meeting began at 6:12 p.m. and ended at 6:17 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The complete text of today’s presidential statement (document S/PRST/2006/43) reads as follows:

“The Security Council recalls all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 1559 (2004), 425 and 426 (1978), resolution 520 (1982) and 1680 (2006), and resolution 1701 (2006), as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statement of 18 June 2000, of 19 October 2004, of 4 May 2005, and of 23 January 2006.

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, unity and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders.

“The Security Council welcomes the fourth semi-annual report to the Security Council of 19 October 2006 on the implementation of resolution 1559 (2004).

“The Security Council notes that important progress has been made towards the implementation of resolution 1559 (2004), in particular through the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in the south of the country for the first time in three decades, but it also notes with regret that some provisions of resolution 1559 (2004) have yet to be implemented, namely the disbanding and disarming of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, the strict respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon, and free and fair presidential elections conducted according to the Lebanese constitutional rules, without any foreign interference and influence.

“The Security Council commends the Lebanese Government for extending its authority throughout its territory, particularly in the south, and encourages it to continue its efforts in this regard.

“The Security Council reiterates its call for the full implementation of resolution 1559 (2004) and urges all concerned States and parties as mentioned in the report to cooperate fully with the Government of Lebanon, the Security Council, and the Secretary-General to achieve this goal.

“The Security Council reaffirms its support to the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy in their efforts and dedication to facilitate and assist in the full implementation of all provisions of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006).

“The Security Council acknowledges the Secretary-General’s intention to revert to the Council in his next report on implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and looks forward to his further recommendations on the relevant outstanding issues.”

Background

The Security Council had before it the Secretary-General’s fourth semi-annual report on the implementation of Council resolution 1559 (2004) (document S/2006/832).  Considerable progress has been made over the past two years towards the resolution’s full implementation.  Syria has withdrawn its troops, military assets and military intelligence apparatus.  The Lebanese National Dialogue manifested further progress.  In the past few months, there has been additional progress with the extension of the Government’s control over Lebanese territory, in particular in the south and along the border with Syria.  The resolution, however, particularly provisions for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and the strict respect of Lebanon’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence under the Government’s sole and exclusive authority, has yet to be fully implemented.

In the past six months, Lebanon has suffered a severe setback, the Secretary-General states.  Instead of making further strides towards completing its political transformation and reaping the economic rewards of political progress, Lebanon confronts challenges of a magnitude unseen since the end of the civil war.  Since the end of the hostilities, a tense political climate has prevailed, with manifold challenges confronting the Lebanese in their quest to reconstruct their country, polity and economy.  The United Nations remains committed to supporting Lebanon, its people and Government, as they face the enormous task of recovering the momentum on the path to consolidating the Lebanese State as an authority “of the people, by the people and for the people”.

Much work remains to be done in the months ahead, the Secretary-General adds.  With the adoption of resolutions 1680 (2006) and 1701 (2006) -- and with repeated Lebanese cabinet decisions to extend the Government’s authority over all Lebanese territory -- a new framework has been established for the full implementation of all the provisions of resolution 1559.  A catalogue of measures has been laid down that constitute a road map for the resolution’s full implementation.  Lebanon’s Government, with significant international support, is undertaking important steps that will help it to fully implement resolution 1559.  Achieving that goal, however, continues to depend on both the Lebanese and on the cooperation of parties other than the Lebanese.

Lebanon will have to engage again in a truly national and inclusive dialogue, the Secretary-General continues.  The disarming and disbanding of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, which lies at the heart of Lebanon’s political transformation and is a necessary element to complete Lebanon’s consolidation as a sovereign and democratic State, can only be achieved through an inclusive process that addresses the political and economic interests of all Lebanese and those living in Lebanon.

“It is my deep hope that the opportunities born from conflict will be seized upon and that Lebanon may once again rise from the ashes of destruction and war,” the Secretary-General says.  In that context, he emphasizes that Hizbollah’s transformation into a solely political party, consistent with the requirements of the Taif Accords, is a key element in ensuring a permanent end to hostilities and in the full restoration of Lebanon’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.  For the purpose of achieving that goal, on the path towards the greater objective of consolidating the Lebanese State, it is indispensable that all parties who have influence in Lebanon support a constructive political process.

The establishment of full diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria and their delineation of the shared border, including in the Shabaa Farms area, through a bilateral agreement would constitute significant steps towards promoting peace and security in the region.  Mindful of the importance of border delineation to the Lebanese, the Secretary-General is working to establish in full the cartographic, legal and political implications of the approach suggested in Lebanon’s seven-point plan.  Calling for Syria and Lebanon to address in their bilateral contacts the issue of Lebanese detainees in Syrian custody, he again calls on all parties and actors to support Lebanon’s reconstruction and political transformation and to urgently take all enabling measures to that end.

* *** *

*     The 5557th & 5558th Meetings were closed.

__________

Lebanon: Annan says disarming Hizbollah is a ‘key element’ in ending hostilities

30 October 2006 – While acknowledging that progress has been made over the past two years in reducing foreign influence in Lebanon, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that disarming Hizbollah is a “key element” in ensuring a permanent end to hostilities, and warned that much remains to be done to restore stability and peace.

“The eventual disarmament of Hizbollah in the sense of the completion of its transformation into a solely political party… is a key element in ensuring a permanent end to the hostilities,” Mr. Annan said in his latest report on resolution 1559, which calls for the reduction of foreign influence in the Middle Eastern nation.

“In the months ahead, Lebanon will have to engage again in a truly national and inclusive dialogue. The disarming and disbanding of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias… can only be achieved through an inclusive process that addresses the political and economic interests of all Lebanese and of those living in Lebanon.”

Mr. Annan’s report, covering developments in the past six months in Lebanon, was delivered to the Security Council by Terje Roed-Larsen, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the implementation of resolution 1559, and it also highlights continued Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Persistent and provocative Israeli air incursions, occasionally reaching deep into Lebanese airspace and generating sonic booms over populated areas, continued to be a matter of serious concern… Israeli overflights have also continued since the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah went into effect on 14 August 2006.”

The report also emphasizes the importance of establishing “full diplomatic relations between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic and their delineation of the shared border, including, in particular, in the Shab’a Farms area,” stating that such a bilateral agreement would “constitute significant steps towards promoting peace and security in the region.”

Further stressing the importance of “border delineation,” Mr. Annan states that he is working to establish the full “cartographic, legal and political implications,” and he also calls on both countries to address bilaterally the issue of Lebanese detainees in Syrian custody.

Wrapping up the report, which is Mr. Annan’s fourth to the Council on resolution 1559, he repeats calls on “all parties and actors to support Lebanon’s reconstruction and political transformation” and to urgently follow up on all relevant agreements, including resolution 1701 that ended this summer’s conflict between Israel and Hizbollah.

 

Oct 19, 2006

19 October 2006

Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

PRESS CONFERENCE BY lebanon force commander


The expanded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had successfully deployed over 7,000 troops, including a maritime task force and might not need to increase its troop numbers to the maximum 15,000 troops, Major-General Alain Pellegrini, UNIFIL’s commander, said today at a New York Headquarters press conference.


“The rapid deployment of UNIFIL was essential for the withdrawal process to be completed without any major disruptions,” Major-General Pelligrini told correspondents, adding that the Force was “off to a good start”, but had a long way to go.  Troop size, though, might not have to be increased to the 15,000 initially requested, if the situation continued to improve, he said.


The Lebanese Armed Forces had been fully deployed down to the southern border, and Lebanon’s maritime border was now protected with a new UNIFIL maritime task force led by Germany, he said.  The maritime surveillance was a key element in the implementation of resolution 1701, which ended 34 days of fighting between Lebanon and Israel in August.  He also reported that a strategic military cell, headed by Italy and France, set up to provide guidance to UNIFIL, was now operational.


On a question as to whether the deployment territory of UNIFIL would be extended to the border with Syria, he noted that UNIFIL and police experts had recently completed an audit of the security situation along the Syrian border, but had not released the report with recommendations.  However, he said he did not foresee a deployment of UNIFIL beyond its current area of operations in the near future.


Responding to various questions from correspondents on reported violations of Lebanon’s airspace by Israeli jets, he said the flights “were a violation of resolution 1701”, and not acceptable.  But at the moment, he added, UNIFIL was dealing with these incidents diplomatically.  Under current procedures, when a violation occurred, UNIFIL reported it to the Secretary-General and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations took it up with Israeli authorities, he said.  However, he added, “if diplomatic means should not be enough, maybe we can consider other ways”.


In answer to another question, as to whether French UNIFIL commanders would open fire on Israeli warplanes if they continued to cross the airspace, he said that the French contingent had anti-aircraft weapons deployed, but only for self-defence.  He added that French contingents are systematically deployed with anti-aircraft systems ever since they suffered heavy losses in Côte d'Ivoire recently.  Any use of anti-aircraft facilities beyond self-defence would depend on new rules of engagement, he added.


To several questions about weapon smuggling operations and the use of tunnels for smuggling, he said that at the moment UNIFIL had not confiscated any illegal weapons in its area of operations, and that there were no tunnels.  About charges that weapons were being smuggled by Syria near the Bekaa Valley, he said that he had no new evidence about incidents in that area, which is outside UNIFIL’s area of operations.


Would Israeli flyovers be warranted and not in violation of 1701, if there were weapon smuggling incidents in those areas, he was asked.  He said that, if that was the case, UNIFIL would look at the evidence and work with the Lebanese Armed Forces to prevent the smuggling.  But UNIFIL had no recent evidence, he insisted.  Weapon smuggling across the border with Lebanon had stopped following weapon confiscations by the Lebanese Armed Forces shortly after the end of fighting. 


Discussions over the future of Al Ghajar were continuing between Israel, Lebanon and UNIFIL, he said.  The South Lebanon border town had become a flash point at the end of hostilities, because it is located on the border with the Golan Heights and had Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli citizens.  UNIFIL was trying to find a working arrangement to ensure the safety of all citizens, including residents with Israeli nationality, who lived in half of the village.  In ongoing negotiations, UNIFIL had reached some agreement that would enable the Lebanese Armed Forces to enter the village, escorted by UNIFIL, in order to affirm their authority on the Lebanese part of the village; and to enable Israeli social and medical support officials to enter, with UNIFIL personnel, areas where their citizens lived.


On the kidnapping of Lebanese citizens by Israeli Defence Forces, he said that all those persons had been released and handed over to UNIFIL and returned to Lebanese authorities.  Since Israeli troops were removed, however, there had been no Israeli ground incursions into Lebanese territory, he stated.


Responding to a question about the fighting capacity of the Lebanese Armed Forces, he said his mission was impressed by the professionalism and good will of the Lebanese units.  At the moment, he said, Lebanese officials were working directly with UNIFIL.  The most urgent need was to provide them with sophisticated equipment, he added. 


UNIFIL was originally created by the Security Council in 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area.  Following the July-August 2006 crisis, the Council enhanced the Force and decided that, in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese Armed Forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.


* *** *

Oct 7, 2006

Tentative forecast of the Programme of Work of the Security Council for the Month of October 2006 - relative to Lebanon.

Middle East (Lebanon) - resolution 1559 (2004)

S/PRST/2004/36 of 19 October 2004

Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council every six months on the implementation by the parties of resolution 1559 (2004).

The Secretary-General's report is expected to be issued by 19 October 2006.

 

Oct 6, 2006

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, October 5, 2006  

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LEBANON: U.N. MISSION CONTRIBUTES TO LOCAL ECONOMY

  • There is a press release available today describing the effect that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has on that country’s economy.

  • Over the last three years, UNIFIL spent approximately 60 percent of its budget on procuring from local companies. In the past year alone, approximately 40 million dollars went back into the Lebanese economy.

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Lebanon: enlarged UN peacekeeping presence helps stimulate local economy

5 October 2006 Beyond supervising the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah in southern Lebanon, clearing unexploded ordnance and providing humanitarian relief, the enhanced United Nations peacekeeping mission is also helping to revive the economy.

By 2007, UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) international civilian staff will more than double, and this will definitely influence for the better the financial market, the mission said in news release today.

UNIFIL staff members purchase commodities, rent apartments, enrol their children in schools and travel. “In addition, UNIFIL employees have many visitors who will have a significant impact on tourism and this is priceless, it improves the reputation of the country,” the mission’s Acting Chief Administrative Officer Jean-Pierre Ducharme said.

UNIFIL also provides medical and dental insurance to national staff members, reducing the burden on the Lebanese social structure. The number of national staff, which already exceeds 300, should double in the next year.

As mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1701, UNIFIL strength is to increase to up to 15,000 international troops before the end of 2006. “The soldiers spend a lot of money here, they visit local attractions, eat out, travel and this, in the end, helps to stimulate the economy,” Mr. Ducharme said.

Over the last three years, UNIFIL spent approximately 60 per cent of its budget on procuring from local companies. During the past year alone, some $40 million went back to the Lebanese economy.

“Obviously, this number will increase, but it gives a good indication on how UNIFIL provides something positive for the Lebanese market,” Mr. Ducharme said.

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DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICEs OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

4 Oct 2006

And the spokeswoman for the general assembly president

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte, Spokeswoman for the General Assembly President.
 

**Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council met earlier today in Geneva to discuss a joint report by four United Nations experts on their mission last month to Lebanon and Israel.  Those experts were:  Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Paul Hunt, the Special Rapporteur on the right to health; Walter Kalin, the Secretary-General’s Representative on the human rights of internally displaced persons; and Miloon Kothari, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing.

The report concludes that serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the recent conflict in Lebanon.   The experts also concluded that Hizbollah violated humanitarian law in many instances by targeting civilian populations and by disregarding the principle of distinction.

Tomorrow, the Council will begin considering nearly 50 resolutions and decisions on a number of issues raised during the three-week session, which is scheduled to end this Friday.

And, we have more information on that upstairs.

End

 

**Questions and Answers

Question:  I just want to ask you, the report or the suggestions, I don’t know what I would call it, by Nicolas Michel [Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs] on the tribunal of an international character, is that going to be released soon?  And, how is it going to be presented?

Spokesman:  The discussions between Mr. Michel and the Lebanese Government are continuing.  I think they are getting fairly close, at which point, if I am not mistaken, the recommendations will be given and presented to the Security Council.  But, we will be happy to ask Mr. Michel to come down and talk to you about that.

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DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICEs OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

3 Oct 2006

And the spokeswoman for the general assembly president

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte, Spokeswoman for the General Assembly President.

Briefing by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

** Lebanon

Meanwhile, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is steadily enhancing its operational capabilities in order to fulfil its responsibilities under Security Council resolution 1701.  More than 3,000 additional troops, for a current total of around 5,200, plus an Interim Maritime Task Force, have been deployed so far.

In a press release, UNIFIL says that, should the situation present any risk of resumption of hostile activities, its rules of engagement allow UN forces to respond as required.  The UN Mission commanders have sufficient authority to act forcefully when confronted with hostile activity of any kind.

UNIFIL has set up temporary checkpoints at key locations within its area of operations, while permanent checkpoints are being established by the Lebanese Armed Forces to stop and search passing vehicles.  In case specific information is available regarding movement of unauthorized weapons or equipment, the Lebanese Army will take the required action, but, if it is not possible to do so, UNIFIL will do everything necessary to fulfil its mandate.  We have a very detailed press release available upstairs from UNIFIL, which I recommend to you.

Also on Lebanon, the World Food Programme has started its third and final round of food distributions.  This round, which should wrap up by 15 October, is expected to reach 655,000 people in southern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and the southern suburbs of Beirut.  We do have information on other humanitarian activities upstairs.


Question:  Question.  In his speech to the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, when he was speaking on the Middle East, he said that some pro-Israel groups, and rightfully so, complained that some agencies of the UN are perceived as anti-Israel.  Now this week, for the fourth time, according to my count, the Human Rights Council is taking the one country-specific issue that has been able so far to coalesce around and that is the Israeli resolution.  Is this Human Rights Council, which was created to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission, whatever, is that one of those agencies that Kofi Annan was speaking of?

Spokesman:  The Secretary-General, in his recent press conference, was very clear that he very much hoped that the Human Rights Council would move on and beyond focusing on just one country and look at the human rights situations throughout the world.  He still hopes that will be very much the case and he hopes that the Human Rights Council will also focus on helping countries build better human rights protection structures and help them move towards better human rights regimes.  He very much hopes that the Council will move beyond some of the focus that we have seen previously in the Human Rights Commission.

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Lebanon: UN peacekeepers lay out rules of engagement, including use of force

3 October 2006 United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon have the authority to use force against hostile activity of any kind, whether in self-defence, to ensure their area of operations is not used for hostile activities or to resist attempts by force to prevent them from discharging their duties, according to guidelines published today.

“Should the situation present any risk of resumption of hostile activities, UNIFIL rules of engagement allow UN forces to respond as required,” the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said in a statement, laying out the terms of the Security Council mandate that established it in August to oversee the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah.

“UNIFIL commanders have sufficient authority to act forcefully when confronted with hostile activity of any kind,” the statement added, noting that the force so far had 5,200 out of a maximum of 15,000 permitted under Security Council resolution 1701.

UNIFIL has set up temporary checkpoints at key locations within its area of operations, while permanent checkpoints are being established by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to stop and search passing vehicles. Yesterday it confirmed that Israel had vacated all but one of the positions it had taken during the fighting and that the LAF were taking over.

“In case specific information is available regarding movement of unauthorized weapons or equipment, the LAF will take required action,” the statement said. “However, in situations where the LAF are not in a position to do so, UNIFIL will do everything necessary to fulfil its mandate in accordance with Security Council resolution 1701.”

Among the resolution’s key terms include the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from positions they occupied in South Lebanon, the deployment of Lebanese and UN forces in the area, and the banning of any other armed personnel and weapons there.

Laying out specific guidelines, the statement said all UNIFIL personnel may exercise the inherent right of self-defence; use force to ensure that their area of operations is not used for hostile activities; and resist attempts by force to prevent them from discharging their duties under the Council mandate.

Moreover force may be used to protect UN personnel, installations and equipment; to ensure the security and freedom of movement of UN personnel and humanitarian workers; and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence in the areas of deployment.

Meanwhile the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is helping Lebanon speed up the recovery of its agriculture sector following the devastating impact of the fighting on both people and the economy.

All agricultural areas were directly or indirectly affected by the war, from fruit trees, vegetables, tobacco and cattle to irrigation systems, farm machinery and forestry. FAO initiatives include a damage and needs assessment mission currently under way and efforts to strengthen veterinary services to prevent and control Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreaks.

FAO will also provide a team of five experts in crop and animal production, fisheries and forestry.

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DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

2 Oct 2006

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

Briefing by Spokesman for the Secretary-General

Good afternoon.

** Lebanon

Turning now to the situation in Lebanon, this morning the Lebanese Armed Forces started deploying along the Blue Line after the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew yesterday from south Lebanon, except from the general area of Ghajar, north of the Blue Line, which is still under IDF control.  The Lebanese deployment continued throughout the day.

After conducting extensive patrolling over the past two days, UN troops from the Ghanaian, French, Spanish and Indian battalions confirmed that there were no IDF troops present in southern Lebanon, except for the northern part of the village of Ghajar.

UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] is also in close contact with the IDF to facilitate a speedy withdrawal from the area of Ghajar.  Major General Alain Pellegrini, who as you know is the Force Commander for UNIFIL, said he expects that Israeli forces will leave the area in the course of this week.

Also today, senior UNIFIL and Lebanese officials met in Naqoura to discuss enhancing cooperation between them in light of the Israeli withdrawal.  UNIFIL also informed the Lebanese Army that it is in the process of finalizing a plan for Ghajar that should be acceptable to all sides.

And we do have a press release available upstairs with more information.

Meanwhile, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is leading an international team of experts that will begin an assessment tomorrow of the environmental damage in Lebanon caused by the recent conflict.

The UN Environmental Programme will lead the team and it will work closely with the Lebanese authorities.

The team will visit and take samples from sites thought to present potential risks to human health, wildlife and the wider environment.  These include the Jiyyeh thermal power plant which, as you will recall, discharged up to 30,000 tons of fuel oil into the sea after being hit in mid-July during the conflict.  And the Beirut international airport, where fuel tanks were set alight as a result of repeated bombing.

And we have a press release available upstairs.


Question:  I have several questions related to the implementation of resolution 1701.  Syrian President Assad said that Syria is adding more troops throughout the Lebanese border, and also, he said in another interview with El Pais that peacekeepers would be unable to stop illegal arms from reaching Hizbollah.  How do you react to this interview and this statement?

Spokesman:  I am not going to react in detail to interviews being given.  What I will restate is two things.  One is that during his visit to Damascus, President Assad had told the Secretary-General that he would deploy more troops along the border.  And that the implementation of 1701 is obviously the business of the Lebanese people, but, it is also the duty of all those countries in the greater region who have an influence to bring to bear to make sure that it is implemented and implemented in full.  And, all the countries have a responsibility to do what they can to stop the flow of illegal arms into Lebanon.

Question:  I have another question.  For the United Nations, is the withdrawal of IDF troops from Lebanon complete or incomplete?

Spokesman:  At this point it is not yet complete.

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Lebanese army moves into South Lebanon positions after Israeli withdrawal, UN reports

2 October 2006 The Lebanese army started deploying along the line separating Israel and Lebanon today following Israel’s withdrawal from nearly all the positions it occupied in this summer’s conflict with Hizbollah, the United Nations mission reported.

UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Acting Commander Brig.-General J.P. Nehra, who met with Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General M. Sleiman, at UN headquarters in Naquora, said Israel was expected to withdraw from the remaining area it still holds, Ghajar, this week.

UNIFIL troops from the Ghanaian, French, Spanish and Indian battalions conducted extensive patrolling yesterday and today and confirmed Israel’s withdrawal from all other areas. A complete withdrawal, together with the Lebanese army deployment, is a key clause in UN Resolution 1701 that ended the 34 days of fighting in August.

The Resolution also mandates strengthening UNIFIL to a maximum of 15,000 troops. At present it has some 5,000 troops on the ground, but the second phase of deployment may be delayed by up to a month due to problems of logistics and capacity, the UN Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC) said in it latest update.

Six ships, including Italian, French, Greek and British vessels, are currently patrolling Lebanese waters as part of the interim Maritime Force, and a German vessel is due to arrive early this month, it added.

“The LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) can now provide security and stability for the people of the South who have already suffered a great deal,” UNIFIL Force Commander Maj.-General Alain Pellegrini said yesterday after Israel announced its latest withdrawal. “UNIFIL is here to assist, and to help to ensure the territorial integrity of Lebanon.”

Meanwhile, a UN-led international team of experts will tomorrow begin an assessment of the environmental damage caused by the conflict. “There is an urgent need to assess the environmental legacy of the recent conflict and put in place a comprehensive clean-up of polluted and health-hazardous sites,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said.

“Work is on-going to deal with the oil spill on the Lebanese coast. We must now look at the wider impacts as they relate to issues such as underground and surface water supplies, coastal contamination and the health and fertility of the land,” he added.

The UNEP-led team, working closely with Lebanese authorities, will sample sites thought to present potential risks to human health, wildlife and the wider environment.

These include the Jiyyeh thermal power plant 28 kilometres south of Beirut which discharged an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 tonnes of fuel oil into the Mediterranean after being hit in mid July; Beirut International Airport, where fuel tanks were set alight as a result of repeated bombing; and the Maliban glass factory in the Bekaa Valley destroyed by an air raid on 19 July.

Some of the estimated 22 country-wide petrol stations that were damaged or destroyed will be assessed, as will locations where there is thought to be unexploded ordnance. The team also plans to assess pollution risks at several damaged drinking water, sewage treatment and hospital facility sites.

Damaged power transformers, collapsed buildings and ruptured oil lines that may have leaked or discharged hazardous substances and materials, such as asbestos and chlorinated compounds, are also earmarked for assessment.

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September 8,12,13 UN Reports on Lebanon

1. Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of
Security Council resolution 1701 (2006)

2. Letter dated 8 September 2006 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL))

3. Letter dated 13 September 2006 from the President of the Security Council addressed to the Secretary-General (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL))

UN Press Conf. 

13 September 2006, New York | News Story |

 

 

United Nations Security Council

PROGRAMME OF MEETINGS AND AGENDA

SCHEDULED MEETINGS

Monday, 18 September 2006

10.30 a.m. Consultations of the whole (closed) - Consultations Room

- Middle East (Lebanon)

The Security Council is scheduled to hold a private meeting this morning for consultations on Lebanon, during which the Secretary-General will brief on resolution 1701.

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Sept 15, 2006

Source: United Nations Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC)

Date: 15 Sep 2006

Lebanon: UNJLC Logistics Bulletin 5, 15 Sep 2006

Highlights:

- On 8th September, the sea blockade was lifted on Lebanon after the international naval force assumed control from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). The end of the sea blockade follows the lifting of the air blockade on 7th September, which has allowed the resumption of commercial air traffic into Lebanon.

- UNFIL troop deployment continued in south Lebanon to reach a total of 3,500 soldiers. 650 of the planned 1,000 Spanish troops are expected on 15th September in Tyre. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that China plans to send a contingent of peacekeeping troops to Lebanon and is in consultation with the United Nations on the details.

- The British Prime Minister Blair arrived in Lebanon on 11th September, and was received by the Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fawzi Saloukh.

1. Operations Update:

Beirut:

With the lifting of the air blockade on 7th September, heavy congestion is expected at Beirut International Airport due to the arrival of cargo planes with supplies for the country. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has estimated that as of 12th September, some 150,000 people remain internally displaced, most having found refuge with host families. The main reason for the continuing displacement is due to UXO (unexploded ordnance) in many areas of the south, along with the destruction of homes and lack of basic services. On 11th September, OCHA conducted assessments in Chamaa, Chihine, Tair HArfa and Majdel Zoun in Tyre district. The team reported that the major concerns in the villages are lack of electricity and the need of water tanks. The Ministry of the Environment reported that the oil spill clean up operation at Byblos Marina has been completed. The remaining step is to work with the fishermen to clean polluted fishing boats. Beirut Logistics Cluster meetings are now scheduled to be held once a week on Tuesdays at 9:00 am.

Tyre:

Logistics Cluster meetings in Tyre continue regularly. The Logistics Cluster in Tyre informed that they still have 6 trucks available to transport cargo from Beirut to villages in need. This service is available through the Logistics Cluster Common Cargo Transport procedure by submitting a Cargo Movement Request (CMR) with all necessary information. CMR forms and all Logistics Cluster meeting minutes are available at www.unjlc.org/lebanon/cargo

Cargo Movements:

During the last reporting week, convoys reached the following areas: Markaba, Aadaisse, Aaddit El Qsair, Aalmane, Aarab el Louaize, Aarma, Ain Aarab Marjaayoun, Bayouda, Beni Haiyane, Blat, Blida, Borj el Mlouk, Ebel El Saqi, Houla, Houra, kfarkila, Khiam, Ebel Es Saqi, Tyre, Qana, Jibchit, Chamaiye, Debaal, Deir Aames, Chehabiye,Chebriha, Chaour, Chamaa, Salaa, Srifa, Tair Debba, Halloussiye, Haumeiri, Maaroub, Ynouh, Taibe and Yarime. Detailed information on convoys can be found on UNJLC website: www.unjlc.org/lebanon/cargo.

A list of commercial transporters in Lebanon is available at www.unjlc.org/lebanon/infosheets/

Since the removal of the blockade and the transfer to use of commercial trucks without convoy escorts, no notification of cargo movements is now required. The Logistics Cluster is still providing transport from Syria to Lebanon through the Cargo Movement Request (CMR) procedure. Information and request forms are available at www.unjlc.org/lebanon/cargo

On 11th September, UNJLC held a meeting with the Lebanese High Relief Commission (HRC) to discuss their requirement for a Supply Tracking Application and mapping of aid distribution. Ultimately the HRC would like to identify what has been imported and distributed in Lebanon. The HRC is now providing data for all its distribution. Agencies and INGOs are requested to submit their pipeline and distribution information to UNJLC as soon as possible.

UNJLC continued its efforts to prioritize food and non food item (NFI) distribution using the Joint Supply Tracker (JST), a system developed in collaboration with UNICEF staff. Purposes of the JST are to: 1. Increase pipeline visibility and transparency; 2. Track NFI from CLPs up to Extended Delivery Point (EDP); 3. Prioritize supply movements in accordance with agency needs The latest JST report is available at www.unjlc.org/lebanon/supply

Shipping:

As of 12th September, the WFP chartered vessel “Anamcara” discontinued her service between Cyprus and Lebanon. The vessel has been providing a regular service between Cyprus and Beirut since her first sailing on 12th August carrying food, medical supplies, shelter items and fuel for a total of 1,570 MT cargo. More details on the Anamcara’s last sailing are available at: www.unjlc.org/lebanon/cargo/shipping/ Eight ships have arrived since the naval blockade was lifted on 8th September carrying wheat, cars, and raw products for manufacturing. (OCHA) As reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the port of Beirut does not expect full import and export activity to resume for another three or four months, mainly due to financial reasons (manufactures facing problems in paying VAT on imported good, the reduce purchasing power of consumers after the conflict and the slow recovery of exports due to the domestic manufacturing stalled during the conflict).

Airlift:

The German Air Force C160s tasked by UNHAS will operate eight flights through 19/20th September to transport some additional cargo for WHO which has now arrived in Cyprus, and will remain available to take any final items which should arrive. Once the Cyprus hub closes, the Logistics Cluster in Beirut will remain available to assist users with alternative options of transportation. The airport tankers damaged by bombing may take up to a year to repair. All refuelling currently requires the use of bowsers. UNJLC has released a snapshot on Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport outlining damages/repairs as of 13th September. The documents is available on www.unjlc.org/lebanon/airops

Further information on Beirut airport can be accessed at http://www.beirutairport.gov.lb/indexflash.html

 

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Sept 15, 2006

Head of UN team probing Hariri''s assassination meets Lebanese public

LAW-LEBANON-HARIRI-PROBE
Head of UN team probing Hariri's assassination meets Lebanese public
prosecutor

BEIRUT, Sept 15 (KUNA) -- Head of the international team probing the assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Al-Hariri's, Serge Brammertz, held a meeting on Friday with Public Prosecutor of the Cassation Court in Lebanon, Saeed Mirza.

According to a press release, the two officials exchanged a number of documents relevant to the investigation, adding that Brammertz was expected to submit his report by the end of September.

Brammertz's team halted all activities as a result of Israel's aggression on Lebanon. The team relocated to Cyprus and resumed its work after the aggression ended last August.

The team started its work in June of 2005 as stipulated by UN Security-Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1595.

Al-Hariri was assassinated on February 14, 2005. (end) an.
ayh

Aug 23, 2006

Spokesman's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.


Good afternoon.

 

** Lebanon


 

Turning to Lebanon, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reports that, the cessation of hostilities was generally maintained in the course of the last 24 hours.  However, Israeli airplanes twice flew over Lebanese territory and a violent clash was reported between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hizbollah members east of the town of Shamaha.  The Secretary-General has also written to the Security Council to advise them that he will, from now on, issue to the Council a daily incident report on the situation across the Blue Line.


 

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army deployed further inside areas vacated by the withdrawing Israeli troops, in accordance with resolution 1701 and the timeline agreed over the weekend between the Israeli and Lebanese Armies.  To date, the Lebanese Army has deployed in more than 50 per cent of the territory south of the Litani River, including some of the areas recently vacated by the Israel Defense Forces.  UNIFIL also reports that a team from the Mine Action Coordination Centre carried out the controlled demolition of a number of unexploded ordnance.  United Nations peacekeepers also distributed 45,000 litres of drinking water to three villages in the south of Lebanon.

**Humanitarian Situation in Lebanon


 

On the humanitarian side, four United Nations convoys were dispatched from Beirut today.  For its part, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that returnees’ shelter needs remain high.  The Agency has, therefore, been providing plastic sheets, hammers, nails, wood, and other such materials for people returning to their homes.  Meanwhile, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the World Bank, has donated $500,000 to Lebanon for emergency relief.  UNDP has also established a political advisory group within the Lebanese Prime Minister's Office, concentrating on support to the recovery and reconstruction effort, with an initial funding of $800,000.

**Questions and Answers


 

Question:  On the second resolution, do you have anything to add from yesterday?


 

Spokesman:  No, nothing to add.  Obviously, the possibility of another resolution is addressed in one of the later paragraphs of the current resolution that would really seek the implementation of a permanent ceasefire and long-term solution.  I think, again, that’s a question best addressed to Council members.


 

Question:  The Qatari Emir is in Lebanon, visiting.  He said he’s bringing an official invitation from Syria to Prime Minister Siniora to visit Damascus.  Do you have any reaction on that?


 

Spokesman:  That would be an issue for, obviously, the Lebanese Government to decide on.  But, the call for the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon is one the Secretary-General has made a number of times.


 

Question:  Could you clarify the date that the 3,500 additional troops are needed in South Lebanon?  I’m saying this because Mark Malloch Brown said “10 days”, and that would come up to 28 August.  There seem to be some people saying that it’s 2 September.  Could you clarify this?


 

Spokesman:  We would obviously like to see them in, as soon as possible.  We remain confident that we could see a bulkhead of a force in southern Lebanon by the very end of this month or the beginning of the next.  But, it’s a general expression of “10 days”.  Obviously, we would like to see the force in there, as soon as possible.


 

Question:  Left over from the rules of engagement -- who decides on things like when to evacuate peacekeepers in case a situation arises?  Is that a decision that is made here, on the ground, in Naqoura?  Who makes that decision?


 

Spokesman:  It’s hypothetical.  The decision to evacuate United Nations staff and peacekeepers ultimately rests with the Secretary-General.  Obviously, depending on the situation, decisions can be taken on the ground or by the Force Commander.  But, those decisions rest with the Secretary-General.


 

Question:  Can we have an update, first, on troop contributor meetings?  There had been talk of one this afternoon, but, I guess that’s probably going to be delayed.  Can you also update us on the Secretary-General’s travel schedule?  Is he intending to go to Brussels on Friday?  What are his plans?


 

Spokesman:  I have nothing to announce on the Secretary-General’s travel.  The troop contributor meeting -- there is no formal one today, but the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had a number of meetings, bilateral meetings, with a number of possible troop contributors.  I think those meetings have gone well.  They’ve talked about details of the deployment, strategic airlift, the kind of equipment that people would bring.  So, the discussions are moving ahead and in a fairly detailed form.


 

Question:  I believe it was Massimo D’Alema today, in Rome, who said that Italy would not be sending troops unless the Israelis stopped firing.  I wanted to know, first of all, if the Secretary-General has had any contact with D’Alema or Prodi today?  Also, is he going to be involved in the meeting, even at a distance, that Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is having with D’Alema and Prodi, on Thursday, in Rome?


 

Spokesman:  No, I do not believe we will be involved in that meeting.  The Secretary-General has not spoken with Mr. Prodi today.  But, he has spoken to him a number of times within the last three or four days.  Obviously, the cessation of hostilities has been holding.  It’s fragile, so having troops in there as quickly as possible would help strengthen that cessation of hostilities.


 

Question:  Does the Secretary-General have any sense of what the Iranian response is to the incentive package, or does he have any comment on it?


 

Spokesman:  We’re obviously waiting to see the details of that response before we actually have a comment on it.


 

Question:  Ambassadors in Tehran received the responses.  Has anybody at the United Nations similarly received the responses?


 

Spokesman:  No, the responses were given to those that made the offer, which is the EU 3 + 3.


 

Question:  So, how will you get the…


 

Spokesman:  We expect to be briefed by those who receive the offer.


 

Question:  The Secretary-General believes that it’s never too late to talk.  The Iranian word is that they want to have serious negotiations.  Does he feel there should be a firm deadline regarding the move to sanctions, or that maybe there’s room for manoeuvring and negotiations?


 

Spokesman:  I think the Secretary-General has always believed in dialogue.  As to the specific offer made today, I think we’re going to wait until we see it before we make any further comment.


 

Question:  Has there been any movement by the Department of Political Affairs to engineer the recognition of Israel by those countries that do not have recognition or diplomatic ties, so as to facilitate the deployment of their troops in Lebanon?


 

Spokesman:  The issue of diplomatic ties between Member States is exactly the affair of those Member States.  We are, as far as force composition is concerned, continuing to talk to all sorts of Member States.  It is likely that, you’ll see a force that is both European and non-European, Muslim and non-Muslim.


 

Question:  On the Department of Political Affairs, yesterday I had asked about Somalia and Ethiopia -- who in the United Nations had done anything.  I hadn’t heard back yet.  There are now reports of clashes between Islamic Courts and Ethiopian troops in Puntland.  I don’t know if you can somehow expedite their…


 

Spokesman:  I’ll try.


 

Question:  In light of the fact that the troop-contributing meeting was postponed -- and that, at the last one they had last Thursday, various countries came forward and pledged some troops -- who has pledged since then?


 

Spokesman:  I can’t go into naming names and details at this point, from here.  But, the fact that there has not been a formal troop-contributing meeting does not mean that things are not going well.  In fact, as I said before you came into the room, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had quite a number of meetings with potential donors, both European and non-Europeans.


 

Question:  You have nothing to announce?


 

Spokesman:  I have nothing to announce.


 

Question:    Not even on the Italians?


 

Spokesman:  I have no firm commitments to announce, but as I said, the discussions are going on at all levels very actively.


 

Question:  But, the fact that you said that 50 percent of the troops had left, the Israeli troops -- is that encouraging to you, even though there are no peacekeepers going, more than a week after the conflict ended?


 

Spokesman:  It’s encouraging that the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Force and the expansion of Lebanese forces are going ahead.  But, this is all very fragile.  This is being done with the 2,000 or so UNIFIL troops that have been on the ground since the beginning.  We need a bulkhead very quickly to shore up what has already been achieved.


 

Question:  Has the Secretary-General…  Or, maybe you can brief us on what United Nations efforts there have been in establishing or having a dialogue with Syrian and Iranian leadership -- any imminent discussions?


 

Spokesman:  The Secretary-General, as I’ve said from here, has been in touch, I think, last week with both the Iranian and Syrian leadership, encouraging them to play a positive role in the implementation of resolution 1701.


 

Question:  What sort of feedback has he had from them, and does he have any planned discussions for today, tomorrow, the coming days?


 

Spokesman:  I can’t go into what may be planned.  But, we very much hope that those countries that do have an influence in the region and in Lebanon exercise that influence positively.


 

Question:  I just want to clarify.  Is it possible that Indonesia, Malaysia and these other countries that don’t have diplomatic relations, could still be part of this force, for the enhanced UNIFIL?


 

Spokesman:  It is clear that we will see Muslim nations in this force?  We want to see a force that is politically legitimate, and that is militarily legitimate, in the eyes of all the parties involved.


 

Question:  Two questions.  Firstly, the figure of 3,500 troops that you want on the ground by the 28th, does that refer to the total troops or additional troops?  In which latter case that would mean, I believe, 5,500.  There were 2,000 there already.


 

Spokesman:  It is additional to the 2,000 already on the ground.


 

Question:  So, there would be 5,500 total?


 

Spokesman:  That’s correct.


 

Question:  Also, you mentioned the Secretary-General will be reporting daily to the Council on events over the Blue Line.  Does that mean only clashes that take place across the border or any clashes that take place anywhere in Lebanon?


 

Spokesman:  No, it would be -- and I should thank you for correcting me -- it would also, obviously, be incidents within southern Lebanon.  It would be a daily report of -- incident reports relating to -- the cessation of hostilities.


 

Question:  Everything to do with 1701, basically?


 

Spokesman:  Exactly.


 

Question:  Just to clarify, because you keep repeating that there should be Muslim States in there -- the issue, as it was framed yesterday by Ambassador Bolton and others, is whether the countries that participate in the force will have diplomatic relations with Lebanon and Israel; the question is not whether they’re Islamic.  The countries where there are no relations with Lebanon or Israel -- are they acceptable as contributors?


 

Spokesman:  We want to see a force that is legitimate politically, that is truly an international force.  I think our first step is to assemble the troop contributors and that’s what we’re doing.


 

Question:  This may have been asked earlier.  Would the United Nations take upon itself to encourage any Muslim nation or other nation that doesn’t recognize Israel or, let’s say, Lebanon, to go through the formality of recognizing those States before contributing?


 

Spokesman:  The issue of establishing diplomatic relations can be quite lengthy.  It is clear that you could see, in the force, countries that may not have formal ties with either of these two countries.  The point is to have a force that works, that doesn’t create more problems, and that is legitimate politically.


 

Question:  Assuming that Indonesia and Malaysia were acceptable to both parties, could they go in immediately or do they have to wait until other countries deploy?


 

Spokesman:  We’re talking to all sorts of troop contributors about how quickly they can deploy.  Obviously, some of them are self-deployable, if that’s a term.  Others would need strategic airlift assistance.  Those are the kinds of questions that are being raised.


 

Question:  They can go in individually and integrate?


 

Spokesman:  They would go in, obviously, in a way that is coordinated by UNIFIL.  But, we’re working on timelines with those countries.


 

Question:  So, there’s no staging area where…


 

Spokesman:  We’re getting ahead of ourselves.  Obviously, it would depend on what contributions they have, whether or not they deploy themselves by ship, whether we use some of the rear bases in Cyprus.  Those are detailed questions that will be addressed.  As they commit, there will be a phased, coordinated deployment by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.


 

Question:  Across First Avenue today, there’s this kind of silent protest against Agent Orange.  I don’t know if you saw this.  Having seen, here, Mark Malloch Brown holding a luncheon for Dow Chemicals last month, which is the maker of Agent Orange, it made me wonder.  Maybe you can comment on it, and maybe Mr. Malloch Brown can explain, what goes into deciding who to, sort of, laud in the Delegates’ Lounge.  Dow Chemicals, they’re being sued by Amnesty International, et cetera…  It led me to believe that the protest outside, and this luncheon…  Can you explain how the United Nations decides when to invite corporations in, and on what basis?


 

Spokesman:  I don’t have any details of the lunch or the protest you’re referring to.  But, it is clear that the Secretary-General has made it part of his effort to reach out to different constituencies, whether it’s non-governmental organizations or civil society, and to reach out to corporations -- transnational corporations -- who have a role to play in the world that we live in.  You see that through the Global Compact, and in other areas where he’s worked closely with pharmaceutical companies in helping to distribute AIDS treatment that is cheaper and more affordable in the developing world.  We reach out to corporations regularly, as we do to non-governmental organizations and civil society.


 

Question:  Does he use the bully pulpit to ask them about issues that are…


 

Spokesman:  I think that is the whole point of the Global Compact -- to ensure that corporations abide by standards of international law.


 

Question:  Would it be possible, this afternoon, to get some explanation?  Because Mr. Malloch Brown spoke, as did Amir Dossal of the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships.  I mean, I’ll try myself, but your Office may have better luck.  Just some explanation from them.


 

Spokesman:  Okay.  [The Spokesman later added that the CEO of the Dow Chemical Company had come to the United Nations Headquarters on 25 July 2006 to commit his company’s resources to developing new technologies and solutions for creating safer, more sustainable water supplies for communities around the world.]


 

Question:  Terje Roed-Larsen is saying in interviews today that it could be two to three months before the Mission is “up to strength” or whatever.  Mark Malloch Brown, on Friday, I wasn’t here, but I heard him desperately appealing to Europe.  Though, he didn’t use the word desperate.  What is the rate of satisfaction upstairs with the level of troops right now?


 

Spokesman:  We would have loved to have been further down the line than we actually are.  The talks are all proceeding; they’re proceeding well.  We’ve gone over this issue of the rules of engagement; that’s really more of last week’s issue than this week.  We do expect more clarity towards the end of the week, with the European Union meeting.  But, we’re also, as I said, talking to a lot of non-European countries.


 

Question:  Can you talk about the delayed meeting of the European Union?


 

Spokesman:  I don’t want to speak for them, but my understanding is there are two meetings.  There’s a political directors’ meeting on Wednesday and a foreign ministers’ meeting on Friday, in Brussels.


 

Question:  Has UNIFIL reported seeing any Hizbollah weapons displayed in public?  Is that something they would report on?


 

Spokesman:  That is not something they have reported on, for the time being.


 

Thank you very much.


 

* *** *

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UN delegation speaks of mixed feelings after ending its mission to Lebanon and Israel

Vijay K. Nambiar
22 August 2006 Concluding its regional diplomacy today by meeting Israel’s Prime Minister, a high-level United Nations delegation that also met Lebanese leaders at the weekend said there were reasons for both optimism and pessimism after the past few days of talks, namely because the UN-brokered cessation of hostilities has so far held but also because there still exists a worrying power vacuum in southern Lebanon.

The delegation, which is led by Vijay Nambiar, Special Political Adviser to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, arrived in Israel on Sunday night and met today with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem to discuss all aspects of the UN-backed resolution that led to last week’s cessation of hostilities with Hizbollah. Yesterday, the delegation, which also includes Terje Roed-Larsen, held talks with Israel’s Foreign Minister.

“The mission has reasons for optimism and reasons for pessimism as we conclude our mission here. Our optimism is predominately grounded on the fact that, by and large, the ceasefire so far has been honoured,” Mr. Roed-Larsen told reporters before the delegation leaves Israel for Europe to brief the Secretary-General on the details of its meetings.

“The reason for pessimism is that until there is a capable and fully deployed Lebanese force along the borders, and in Southern Lebanon, and until there is implemented a full reconfiguration and deployment of an international force there will – up to a point, and I emphasize – remain a security vacuum in Lebanon.”

Mr. Roed-Larsen also said that the issue of the abducted Israeli soldiers had been raised by the delegation during all its meetings, as also had the issue of Israel lifting the embargo on Beirut’s airport and latterly the full blockade.

Mr. Nambiar told the reporters that there had also been “considerable discussions” on the question of enhancing the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which currently stands at 2,000 strong, but which resolution 1701 calls to be increased to a maximum of 15,000 personnel.

“We are hoping that in the course of the coming days, particularly at the forthcoming meeting in Brussels of the European Union (EU) that there will be some concrete indications of enhanced offerings from the European countries for this force,” he said.

The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1701 on 11 August, in which it called for an immediate cessation of hostilities – which went into effect on 14 August local time, the deployment of Lebanese troops, the significantly expanded UN peacekeeping presence across southern Lebanon as well as the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the area.

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UN agencies highlight shortages of water, shelter as most Lebanese have now returned

The shattered streets of Bint Jbeil, Southern Lebanon
22 August 2006 With most Lebanese who fled the devastating month-long conflict in their homeland now having gone back to their homes, United Nations agencies on the ground have identified shortages of clean water and shelter as two of the most pressing needs faced by the hundreds of thousands of returnees.

“I have never seen destruction like this,” said UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) water and sanitation specialist Branislav Jekic, after the agency conducted preliminary assessments in southern Lebanon. “Wherever we go, we ask people what they need most and the answer is always the same: water.”

"People want to move back to their communities. But whether they stay or not will depend on the availability of water.”

In 10 out of 12 war-affected communities visited by UNICEF in recent days, underground pipes and other water-related infrastructure had been seriously damaged or destroyed, the agency said, adding that it had stepped up its response to deal with the problem.

Since the beginning of the crisis on 12 July, more than a quarter of a million litres of bottled water has been sent to some of the worst-hit communities including Bint Jubail, Ait el Shaab and Tibnin. Currently, around 50,000 litres a week are being sent south by truck, but this quantity will more than double by the weekend.

Teams from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have also described similar needs in their assessments on the ground, highlighting also the destruction in the south.

“A UNHCR team that went through nine villages along the border on Monday saw this reality. Four of the villages were largely destroyed, with buildings razed and rubble strewn over the ground,” spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told reporters in Geneva.

“In response to requests for rebuilding assistance, UNHCR is preparing emergency repair tool kits that include plastic sheeting, plywood, corrugated metal sheets, wood, as well as basic tools such as hammers, nails, shovels.”

According to Lebanon’s Interior Ministry, some 97 per cent of those displaced by the conflict between Hizbollah and Israel have now returned to their homes, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today. OCHA also said that four more convoys of UN aid left Beirut for the south.

Further on the humanitarian front, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the World Bank, has donated $500,000 to Lebanon for emergency relief, a UN spokesman said in New York. UNDP has also established a political advisory group within the Lebanese Prime Minister's Office, concentrating on support to the recovery and reconstruction effort, with initial funding of $800,000.

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Aug 21, 2006

21 August 2006

Spokesman's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.


Good afternoon.  It’s definitely afternoon.  Pardon the delay.  First of all, I have a delegation of journalists from Latin America with us and I’d like to welcome all of you.  After the noon briefing our guest will be Mr. Thomas Schindlmayr from the Secretariat for the Disability Convention who will give a short update on the progress of the negotiations on the convention, which as you know, have been going on since last Monday.


**Lebanon/Israel


Turning to events in Lebanon and in Israel, the delegation that the Secretary-General dispatched to the Middle East to deal with the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 is in Israel today, where the team met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.


Following that meeting, one of the delegation’s members, Terje Roed-Larsen, said that the delegation discussed with Livni all matters related to the full implementation of all provisions of resolution 1701.  Among the topics discussed, he said, were the issues of the release of prisoners, the necessity of implementing the Security Council resolution’s call for an arms embargo and the lifting of the blockade in Lebanon.


The delegation also met this morning with a number of other senior Israeli officials and they are currently now meeting with Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz and are expected to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres later this afternoon.


Over the weekend, the delegation, which, as you know, also includes Vijay Nambiar, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, met with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and other senior officials in Lebanon.


Meanwhile, on the ground closer to the Blue Line, as you may know, we put out a STATEMENT on Saturday expressing the Secretary-General’s deep concern about a violation by the Israeli side of the cessation of hostilities.  The incident involved an Israeli raid in eastern Lebanon on Saturday.  The Secretary-General spoke on Saturday to the Israeli and Lebanese Prime Ministers on the matter.


According to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, there have also been several air violations by Israeli military aircraft.


All such violations, the Secretary-General said in the statement, endanger the fragile calm that was reached after much negotiation and undermine the authority of the Government of Lebanon.  The Secretary-General further calls on all parties to respect strictly the arms embargo, exercise maximum restraint, avoid provocative actions and display responsibility in implementing resolution 1701.


And UNIFIL meanwhile also reports that the Israeli Army withdrawal and the deployment of the Lebanese Army continue in accordance with the plan and timeline agreed during a trilateral meeting that the UN Force Commander, General Alain Pellegrini, had yesterday with senior representatives of the Lebanese and Israeli Army.


UNIFIL had moved into areas vacated by the Israeli Defense Forces early yesterday afternoon.  And today, the Lebanese Army shall take control over those areas.  The UN peacekeeping mission also distributed 35,000 litres of drinking water to several villages in southern Lebanon, where water distribution systems are no longer functioning.


And we do have a press release for that available upstairs.


** Lebanon -- Humanitarian Update


Turning to more focus on the humanitarian situation in Lebanon, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that three convoys were dispatched from Beirut today, bringing the number of convoys sent since 26 July to 52.  Since the current crisis started, the World Food Programme has helped feed 460,000 people, and UNICEF has provided essential drugs for 70,000 people and carried out vaccination campaigns against measles for 13,000 children and polio for 9,000 children in the area.  UNICEF has also provided water for 135,000 people, in addition to a number of water kits throughout the country.


OCHA also reports that the entire Sidon region, with the exception of Marjayoun, is heavily contaminated by unexploded ordnance; demining will take up to six months in the region of Nabatiye alone.  UN agencies have worked with the Government of Lebanon on a public awareness campaign on the dangers posed by the ordnance.


And on the fuel front -- which some of you have asked about a number of times -- the UN facilitated the entry of 135,000 tons of fuel for the Government of Lebanon and aid agencies into Lebanon between 2 and 17 August.  And we do have more details upstairs.


**Security Council


Meanwhile, the Security Council is today holding consultations this morning on Lebanon and other matters.  They are being briefed by Hédi Annabi, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and he is presenting to them the report submitted by the Secretary-General on Friday on the implementation of resolution 1701.


That report, which is now out on the Web and available upstairs, provides an update on the cessation of hostilities as of Friday night, and on ways to reinforce the UN Interim Force in Lebanon.


The Secretary-General cautions that the situation is still very fragile.  He calls on all parties to do their utmost to ensure that the cessation of hostilities holds and to transform it into a durable ceasefire.


He says that a reinforced UNIFIL is not going to wage war on any of the actors in the theatre, nor can it be a substitute for a political process.  But that political process will need the kind of help, assistance and confidence that only a robust peacekeeping presence can provide.

.....

**Questions and Answers

Question:  When you came in I didn’t get to hear whether you already spoke about the mission of Nambiar and Larsen in Lebanon.  How do you characterize this mission?

Spokesman:  Yes, I did read out a whole note.  I can give you the note afterwards.  But basically, their talks are progressing and they will, of course, report back to the Secretary-General when they return, probably mid-week.


Question:  Mid-week they will be returning?  Another question, do you have any update on the troops, the troops multinational?  Are there any new points added or elaborated on the rules of operation and concept?


Spokesman:  The rules of engagement -- first of all, the discussions are continuing at all levels on troop generation.  The Secretary-General spent most of his weekend on the phone with a number of leaders from Europe and other parts of the world to discuss this issue.  He remains confident that we will get the necessary vanguard force within about 10 days, which is urgently needed to shore up the fragile cessation of hostilities that we have on the ground.

 

As for the rules of engagement, they were -- the draft rules of engagement were -- given to Member States at the end of last week.  All the ones that have asked for them have received them.  We have not heard back any comments from any of the Member States, or any questions on the rules of engagement.  We are actively seeking them.  We will contact Member States to see if they do have any queries.  But, the rules of engagement are as clear as they were explained to you by a number of senior officials over the last few days that while UNIFIL -- the enhanced UNIFIL -- will not go in as an offensive force, it will go in to police a political accord.  It will have, in its very clearly stated rules of engagement -- the authority to use force where combatants forcefully resist demands from UNIFIL to disarm.  It will have the authority to use force in its duties in the implementation of the resolution.  And, I think those details are spelled out in the resolution itself.

Question:  Do you know if this force will be deployed in all of Lebanon, including on the frontier with Syria?


Spokesman:  The issue of support of the Lebanese Government’s efforts to seal its border will be a subject of discussion.  The resolution is clear on that, that we will help the Government of Lebanon on its request on those issues.  But, the bulk of the force will remain in the south.

Question:  In that reference, I wanted to ask you -- Israel has been saying for the last two days that, now it has been asking the Italian Government to have its troops lead this so called international troop corps that is going to be part of UNIFIL.  It has been saying it over and over.  Also, what is the United Nations position on that?  And the other thing is, also Israel has said, again and again, it will not accept troops -- at least suggesting that it will not be happy with the composition of troops, which are from countries unfriendly to it.  So, does it have the veto power over this process, as to which nations can be part of this UNIFIL or not?


Spokesman:  On your first question, who leads the Force, is a decision of the Secretary-General.  He appoints the Force Commander.  We have currently serving as Force Commander General Alain Pellegrini, who has done an outstanding job, especially in the last month.  Plus, he continues to have the full confidence of the Secretary-General and continues to serve as the Force Commander.  We may see, as you do with a lot of other peacekeeping missions, that the staff officers who work in the headquarters of the Force will of course reflect the membership of the force and its larger members.  As for the composition of the Force itself, that is also the decision of the United Nations, of the Secretary-General.  We’re obviously talking to a lot of countries about serving on that Force.  It is clear that the force will need to have military legitimacy and political legitimacy.  It would not come as a surprise to us to see, once the Force is in place, a Force made up of Europeans, non-Europeans, Muslims and non-Muslims.  But, I think first we have to assemble the Force and obviously we would want to deploy a force that is workable, politically and militarily.

Question:  Now that the French have basically abdicated their lead role that they were having, I think, if Israel is asking for other European countries it should be valid.  The other thing I wanted to ask you about -- what kind of talks did the Secretary-General have with the Israeli Prime Minister over the ceasefire?


Spokesman:  Clearly, the discussions with the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister of Israel focused on the fragility of the cessation of hostilities and the need for everyone to exercise restraint.  And, once again, on the leadership of the Force, the decision as to who leads the Force belongs to the Secretary-General alone.


Question:  Stéphane, when the Secretary-General says that he believes that this eventual appealing to Iran to take, to accept this “historic opportunity” and accept conditions of the EU 3 + 3, and when he says that he believes that it could be the milestone for the Non-Proliferation Treaty, does he think that, does he have in mind a some-years-ago proclaimed vision of a nuclear-free Middle East?  And if he has, how he thinks to proceed with that by the end of his mandate?  And, does he believe, and think, that he is going to talk regarding that with his successor?

Spokesman:  I don’t think I’m going to go into the successor issue.  The Secretary-General, I think as you read in his past statements since last year’s General Assembly, has again and again expressed disappointment that the Member States were not able to come to some agreement to strengthen the non-proliferation treaties, and to deal with the issue of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  And, he strongly believes that this, the peaceful settlement of this issue, would send the right signal in terms of nuclear non-proliferation.


Question:  You didn’t answer…


Spokesman:  That’s as far as I’ll go in answering that question.


Question:  Excuse me, you didn’t answer whether he thinks that this is part of the vision of a nuclear-free…


Spokesman:  The issue of nuclear non-proliferation is one that he’s addressed numerous times and he believes it’s one that Member States should address forcefully.


Question:  Stéphane, Kofi Annan is going now to the area.  Could you tell us precisely, if you have the information, which countries in the Middle East Kofi Annan is going to?  And, why does he feel the need to go there and talk again?  What is really the untold thing here?  There was so much thrust in the beginning for 1701.  Once it’s there, there’s a lot of hesitation.  And, now it seems that more than ever, Kofi Annan has to play again this role.  Why is he going to the Middle East?  To bring new ideas?  To listen to other parties?

Spokesman:  First of all, we have absolutely nothing to announce on any eventual trip by the Secretary-General to the Middle East.  The resolution 1701 calls for him to report on a whole host of issues, including political development and political agreements by the end of the month.  I think before any trip can be considered, it is important that he hears back from Messrs. Nambiar and Roed-Larsen, who we expect to have back towards the middle of the week.


Question:  Why this level of difficulty at the level of the United Nations to get the acceptance of countries?  What we see is France, which carried all the weight in the beginning, they are, sort of, coming back on their word.  Other countries are being asked too, but the response is not there yet.  The draft has been circulated -- no comment, you just said.  Why suddenly the world community is, you know, kind of, going back.  The thrust that you see in the beginning seems to be losing its own…


Spokesman:  I think the Secretary-General remains confident that he will get the troops that he needs at some point in the next 10 days for deployment.  Obviously in any peacekeeping mission, once we receive a mandate from the Security Council, we then have to go knock on doors.  Each country has its own constitutional, political, military realities, but we are working hard in our contacts at every level to get the troops needed.  And, we’re confident that we will get them.


Question:  While here it sounds very logical to talk about rules of engagement, I read the PowerPoint presentation, I heard Mark Malloch Brown, I heard you today, and I still don’t understand how you square this circle here.  You say, on the one hand, there is not going to be mass disarmament -- that’s Mark Malloch Brown.  On the other, we will use force on anyone refusing to disarm.  I think the troops on the ground have no idea how to act, according to this rule.  I mean, it’s kind of an inner contradiction there.

Spokesman:  I don’t think so.  The issue of disarmament of the militias is to create a weapons-free zone, except for that of the Lebanese Government, in southern Lebanon, and is the responsibility of the Government of Lebanon.  UNIFIL is mandated to support that work, and the rules of engagement state that in implementing and discharging its duties, it has the authority to use force.

Question:  But to use force to what?  You say there’s not going to be disarmament, or mass disarmament as Mark Malloch Brown said.  To use force for what?

Spokesman:  I think what he said is that not mass disarmament performed by UNIFIL.  UNIFIL will be there to police an accord reached by the Lebanese Government.  And Mark, I think, was clear when he said, if combatants forcefully resist a demand from UNIFIL to disarm, if UNIFIL comes across a patrol…  What I’m saying is, if UNIFIL comes across, in its patrolling, across armed men who refuse to disarm, they will have the option to use force.  A lot of those decisions are obviously tactical decisions that will be left up to the commanders on the ground.  But, the authority to use force in the discharge of its mandate is there.

Question:  So, is UNIFIL under the command of the Lebanese Government?

Spokesman: No.  UNIFIL is under…

Question:  He says that there will be only disarmament, according to the political agreement by the Government of Lebanon.  So, I mean, it seems to me like UNIFIL, it seems to me from what you’re saying, UNIFIL will be allowed to use force only to enforce something that the Government of Lebanon agrees to.  So basically, UNIFIL is under the command of the Lebanese Government.


Spokesman:  I think, Benny, you and I will never square the same circles.  But basically, I understand the…


Question:  I have a little more trouble than that of me and you.  I have to know when to shoot and when not to.


Spokesman:  You and I are not yet at the shooting stage.  The resolution, is clear.  UNIFIL is there in support of the Government of Lebanon.  It will assist the Government of Lebanon.  It will police by the political agreement reached by Lebanon.  In the discharge of its mandate, UNIFIL has the authority to use force.


Question:  So, President Bush also needs greater clarification of the rules of engagement.  Will there be any effort by the Department of Peacekeeping to, I guess, maybe further define the rules of engagement?


Spokesman:  You may not have heard my answer to the first question.  The rules of engagement were sent to all the Member States who had attended the meeting.  We were looking for comments from them, as of a few hours ago we had not received any comment back, requests for clarification.  We will then be seeking, we are now actively seeking comments from those Member States.  So, as always, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations is available at all times to provide for the clarification.


Question:  Ambassador Bolton mentioned a little while ago at the stakeout that the United States is looking into pushing through a resolution, a debate on a resolution that will call for a disarming of the Hizbollah.  What is the Secretary-General’s position on that?  Would that be productive or would that be counterproductive?


Spokesman:  Not having heard Ambassador Bolton’s comment in full, I’d rather not comment on that.


Question:  Steph, I just wanted to ask you about Alain Pellegrini, who’s leading the Force now.  Is there any sort of option -- since the Secretary-General would be the one to say who leads the Force -- if the Italians stepped in and he decided that they would lead the Force, that he would switch out Pellegrini, not based on his performance, but based on the fact that now there would be battalions?  I mean…


Spokesman:  As I said, as you rightfully pointed out, that decision belongs to the Secretary-General.  General Pellegrini has done an outstanding job.  He has the full confidence of the Secretary-General.  He continues to serve.  What you may see is, in fact, within the headquarters staff of that mission, officers from some of the countries that have the most -- sort of, the largest contributors to the Force.  But, as of now, General Pellegrini continues to serve with the full support of the Secretary-General.


Question:  When is his contract out?


Spokesman:  I think the beginning of February.


Question:  Quick follow-up to that question.  The whole talk this morning about the new... Are we really now facing, behind the scenes there, a new resolution different than 1701, calling on… deciding exactly the rules of engagement?  President Bush openly spoke about it today, in Washington.  Are you hearing about it here, at the level of the United Nations?


Spokesman:  You’d have to ask the ambassadors.  As far as the rules of engagement are concerned, they are detailed and they’ve been given out to Member States.  We’re waiting for their comments and we’re calling them up to see if they have any additional comments.


Question:  So, just a couple of questions.  As you’ve said, obviously the United Nations makes the determination, ultimately, on what forces will contribute.  Would part of the United Nations’ requirement for contributing countries be to recognize the State of Israel and its right to exist?  And, just another couple with regard to disarmament, the deal basically seems to be that Hizbollah -- and, sort of, Ambassador Bolton’s suggestion, I guess -- is that, it doesn’t have, visibly, weapons…  doesn’t wander around with weapons visibly on the streets, but basically, dumps them in arms caches under their mattresses and so forth.  Is that acceptable as far as the United Nations’ concept of operations is concerned?


Spokesman:  On the first question, the first step is to put the Force together.  We are still in that process.  Second of all, the resolution is fairly detailed in its call for the implementation of 1559, and refers to… as well to accords, political agreements reached by the Government of Lebanon.  Again, the aim of this resolution is to shore up, and to support, the State of Lebanon and the Government of Lebanon, to assert its full authority in southern Lebanon and, create an area where it has the sole authority and the only guns.


Question:  So, to follow-up on that.  The Government of Lebanon agrees with Hizbollah that they can put their weapons under their mattresses -- that’s okay with the United Nations?


Spokesman:  I’m not going to go into what may or may not agree.


Question:  But, back to the original one that you skipped and I’ll have just one last try.  Would the United Nations require that a contributing country recognize the State of Israel or not?


Spokesman:  As I said, the decision to put the force together belongs to the Secretary-General and we’re in the process of putting together the force.


Question:  There are reports of a gun battle in Kinshasa pinning down United Nations officials.  Do you have any more details?


Spokesman:  We’re looking into those details.  The situation is currently extremely tense in the Congolese capital.  Whether it’s the Secretary-General here or the local United Nations Mission, we’ve been appealing urgently for calm, and Mr. Swing is currently in discussions with both… with all those that are doing the shooting.  We’re trying to figure out exactly who is doing the shooting in Kinshasa, and we’re trying to work towards restoring the calm as urgently as possible.


Question:  On that, there’s a Reuters story quoting United Nations sources that the forces of Kabila are firing tanks at Bemba’s house with the foreign donors inside.  There’s also a quote on Congo from Ross Mountain saying, as to the run-off, that the United Nations system does not have funds in place, full funds, to do the run-off.  Do you have any?  Is there?


Spokesman:  That I would have to check.


Question:  On Somalia and Ethiopia, over the weekend, BBC, Reuters and various countries reported again Ethiopian troops increasing inside Somalia.  You were cc’d on this response by Fall’s office that, quote, “they don’t have a monitoring mandate inside Somalia”.  Is… who in the United Nations system can, as this takes place, say anything about Ethiopian, or other, incursions into Somalia, and has Kofi Annan made any phone calls or enquiries?  Who is in charge?


Spokesman:  The Somali file is being kept by the Department of Political Affairs.  I will check on any calls that may have been made in that regard.


Question:  Two things.  Firstly, what is the latest on that big oil spill in the Lebanese-Syrian coastal region?  And also, with reference to the Secretary-General’s statement that, regarding Israeli incursion over the weekend into Baalbek or into the Bekaa Valley, does he not consider that an effort at preventative interdiction, that is, keeping weapons from coming over the Syrian border, is in fact a defensive exercise and hence allowable under the terms of 1701?


Spokesman:  On the oil spill, we understand that the aerial surveys of the Lebanese coast will be getting under way very quickly, which will help us figure out exactly what the extent of the damage was.  The Secretary-General clearly saw the actions of Israel as a violation of the agreement of the cessation of hostilities.  I think the issue of interdiction -- it is clear that all countries in the region have a duty to implement the arms embargo going into Lebanon as called for by the resolution.


Question:  Do you know if, during the weekend, the Secretary-General had contact, phone contact, with President Assad?


Spokesman:  He did not have any contact with President Assad over the weekend.


Question:  Is it that the Force Commander’s decisions in Bosnia led to failures in Srebrenica?

Spokesman:  The issue of Srebrenica has been debated and looked at in various reports, both here and in other places.  I think our focus is on how to make UNIFIL as useful and work as well as it can, and that is why these rules of engagement were devised.


 Question:  Resolution 1701 talks extensively about implementation of resolution 1559 in order to bring peace to the region.  But before that, the Secretary-General has said that there are other resolutions, which remain unimplemented, which are at the root cause of all that is happening in the Middle East, namely resolution (inaudible) on Palestine.  Has he ever discussed that?  Because the peace process as it is, is now dead.  What is going to happen now?


 Spokesman:  The Secretary-General would like to see successful implementation of 1701 as a step towards finding a global solution to the issues in the Middle East and finding political solutions.


 Question:  You were unable to answer what the Secretary-General’s sentiments were about having a second resolution that would call for the disarmament of the Hizbollah.  Is there any way that we might get some sort of a response tomorrow on that?


 Spokesman:  Whatever issues are being discussed among the Member States in possible resolution are best left to the Member States.  Resolution 1701 gives the Secretary-General quite a lot of work to do.  He is focused on doing that work, on reporting back to the Council within about three or four weeks now, on its implementation.


 Question:  I’m not quite clear.  Is the Secretary-General now cancelling his trip to Syria and Iran or…?


 Spokesman:  As I said earlier, we are not in a position to announce any eventual trip or possible trip.  He would go to the region when it would be best for him to go or if it would be good for him to go.  Obviously, the first step before any such trip would happen would be for him to hear back from his envoys, Mr. Nambiar and Mr. Roed-Larsen.

Question:  If he intends to go to Iran anyhow…?


Spokesman:  As I said, I have nothing to announce on eventual travels.


Question:  Does the DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) have any plans regarding sending anybody in UNIFIL near the Syrian border in order to enforce the embargo?

Spokesman:  I’d like to use a response which you suggested I use, which is:  “asked and answered”.  I think I answered that question earlier, which is:  the resolution clearly states that the UN would, at the request of the Government of Lebanon, support its efforts to secure its borders.  These are parts of the issues that the Secretariat would be discussing with the Government of Lebanon.  I think you can look forward to suggestions in the Secretary-General’s next report.  These are issues that would be looked at and I think the resolution in that regard is very clear.


 Question:  Just maybe have to get a reaction here.  The Lebanese Defence Minister announced in the last hour that Lebanon now is warning every armed faction in that southern area between the Litani and the Blue Line that they will be prosecuted if caught.  The same goes for Hizbollah.  To what extent does this statement from Beirut today really help Kofi Annan?  I may be a little pushing here, but also, do you see any relation between what is coming up in Iran at the end of the month and what is going on on the ground, the tactical issues?  Many countries, I understand, are fearful to send their troops while the Iranian resolution, the one on the 31st, is coming up.


 Spokesman:  I think the second part of your question was referred to in what the Secretary-General said yesterday, which is, in a time of acute crisis in the Middle East, progress on the nuclear issue is essential for the stability of the region.  As for the motivation of the Member States, I think you’ll have to ask them.  Obviously, the comments by the Defence Minister of Lebanon are his to make.  The Secretary-General’s position is extremely clear, that people should exercise maximum restraint and avoid any provocative action that would endanger the cessation of hostilities.


 Question:  You addressed the Israeli operation in Lebanon in terms of the ceasefire, but is there any specific point in international law regarding wearing a uniform of another country’s army, and has the UN been addressing these reports that the Israelis were using Lebanese army uniforms?


 Spokesman:  We do not have any details further than what some of us have read in the press.


 Question:  Regarding the trip or “not trip” to Syria and Iran, is Kofi Annan consulting his friends in Congress as to the advisability of the move?  The last time, he was going to go and then he didn’t go at the urging of Tom Lantos.  Is there any similar consideration?


 Spokesman:  The Secretary-General’s decision to travel is his and his alone, and he’ll make that one.


 Question:  The Iranian response that we are expecting tomorrow, do you know what kind of form that will come in and to whom it will go?


 Spokesman:  We assume that it will first go, most likely, to Javier Solana, who had been the point person for the European Union.


 Question:  Over the weekend, in Ramallah, the Palestinian Minister of Education and other officials were seized by Israel.  So, I am wondering whether the Secretary-General or his envoys to the region have any comment on the legality or advisability of that?  And also, Mr. Annabi has been doing these briefings, so I am wondering where Jean-Marie Guéhenno is and what he has been up to.


 Spokesman:  Jean-Marie Guéhenno was in France on personal business, and he continues to be in France.  He is having a number of meetings with French officials.  As for the number of arrests that we have seen of officials of the Palestinian Authority it is cause of particular concern for us.  The Secretary-General very much believes that it undermines the Palestinian institutions, which must be preserved if a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to be achieved.


 Question:  Is there going to be fund-raising for the Palestinians after the Lebanese fund-raising meeting?  And secondly, are there going to be other rules of engagement?


 Spokesman:  The idea behind sending draft rules of engagement out was to elicit comments from potential troop contributors, so that everyone who contributed troops would be happy with them.  We would not want to dictate them to the Member States.  We are still waiting for comments back.


 Question:  What did the Secretary-General refer to when he said major challenges lay ahead in the Congo just before the announcement of the results of the elections?


 Spokesman:  I think the challenges are there for all to see in the Congo.  The major challenge will be to make sure that all the political parties accept the democratic process, and that they accept the results of the election, and that if they have complaints about the election results that they go through the established constitutional appeals process and not take to the streets.  The other challenge is, obviously, rebuilding the Congo, which is quite a major challenge.


 Question:  Do you have a correct count of the Lebanese prisoners and Israeli detainees?


 Spokesman:  No, we do not have a count.


Question:  Again on the UNIFIL issue.  What happened suddenly that many countries in this beautiful institution here are not responding to Kofi Annan’s call for 3,500 people to go into southern Lebanon?  What was the one issue of concern that pushed so many countries to suddenly change their views?


Spokesman:  I cannot speak for them, but, as I said, we are actively engaged with a number of troop contributors, and the Secretary-General is confident that we will get those troops, the vanguard troops for the next 10 days.  He is confident that he will get them.  Obviously, a lot of countries have to work out their own internal issues, but we remain confident that we will get them.  One last question and then we’ll go to our guest who’s been patiently waiting.


Question: What’s the date of the deployment of the vanguard force?  Is it 2 September or 28 August?


Spokesman:  We are looking for the next 10 days; the earlier the better.  One really last question, go ahead.


Question:  The Prime Minster of Lebanon had a meting with the Foreign Minister of Turkey and, I believe, four other ministers and they said that they all wanted Turkey to be there…


Spokesman:  We would very much welcome Turkey’s participation in this force.


Question:  …Because they said they wanted a moderate Muslim nation and that is…you know…only Turkey (inaudible),and they begged the Foreign Minister to send Turkish…


Spokesman:  As I said, we would very much welcome Turkey’s participation.

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UN delegation discusses Lebanon situation with Israeli Foreign Minister, other officials

Terje Roed-Larsen
21 August 2006 A high-level United Nations delegation met Israel’s Foreign Minister and other senior officials today to discuss the issue of prisoners, an arms embargo, the lifting of the blockade of Lebanon and other issues relating to the Security Council resolution that led to the cessation of recent hostilities between Hizbollah and Israel.

The team, which arrived in Israel after meetings in Lebanon, was sent to the region to discuss ways of implementing Security Council resolution 1701 and, after meeting Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, also held talks with the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister's office, Defence Minister Amir Peretz, and Vice-Premier Shimon Peres.

“We have discussed a number of issues with the Foreign Minister; in particular, we discussed the prisoners’ issue…Further, we have discussed the necessity of implementing the Security Council resolution’s call for an arms embargo,” Terje Roed-Larsen, a senior member of the delegation, was quoted as saying after the meeting with the Foreign Minister.

“We have in this context also discussed the lifting of the blockade in Lebanon, both of the land crossings, seaports and at the airports,” he said, adding that the delegation hoped that “in the very near future” this can start to be lifted, with the appropriate authorities of Lebanon taking full control of all of its borders.

Vijay Nambiar, Special Political Adviser to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, leads the delegation and in their meeting with the Foreign Minister, Mr. Roed-Larsen said “all matters related to the implementation, full implementation, of all provisions of Security Council resolution 1701,” had been discussed.

“The meeting today has been very constructive, very friendly and very forward-looking. We have reason to be hopeful that now there will be a full respect of the ceasefire and full support of all parties concerned for the full and total implementation of Security Council resolution 1701.”

Mr. Roed-Larsen also characterized the other meetings held today by the delegation, as well as those in Lebanon, as “very good,” adding that they had received “very constructive attitudes and suggestions from all parties we have been speaking to so far.”

The Council unanimously adopted resolution 1701 on 11 August, in which it called for an immediate cessation of hostilities – which went into effect on 14 August local time, the deployment of Lebanese troops and a significantly expanded UN peacekeeping presence across southern Lebanon as well as the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the area.

In New York today, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701, which was given to its 15 members last Friday.

In the 13-page report, the Secretary-General says that he is “encouraged by the positive first steps” since the coming into effect of the cessation of hostilities a week ago, however he cautions that the situation remains “very fragile.”

“I call on all parties to do their utmost to ensure that the cessation of hostilities holds and to transform it into a durable ceasefire…I call on both the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel to work resolutely towards a long-term solution and a permanent ceasefire.”

Mr. Annan also says that a reinforced UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), as called for by the resolution, “is not going to wage war on any of the actors in the theatre,” but emphasizes its supporting role to the political process and the importance of negotiation.

“That political process, however, will need the kind of help, assistance and confidence that only a robust peacekeeping presence can provide, in support of the Government of Lebanon and its efforts to exercise its authority effectively throughout its territory.”

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Lebanese army moves into more positions vacated by Israeli troops as UN coordinates

21 August 2006 Lebanese forces moved into more areas in the south of the country today as Israeli troops withdrew and the cessation of hostilities with Hizbollah continued to hold, the United Nations interim force, which is coordinating the operation, said in a statement.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that this latest withdrawal of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the deployment of Lebanese troops was going ahead in accordance with plans agreed yesterday during a third trilateral meeting held between its Force Commander and senior representatives from both sides.

“Yesterday, the IDF withdrew from general areas of east-south and east-west of Bayt Yahoun and south along the road to Kunin. UNIFIL moved into vacated areas early in the afternoon. Today, the Lebanese Army shall take control over those areas.”

UNIFIL is continuing ground and air patrols throughout its area of operations to monitor the cessation of hostilities and said that there had been Israeli air violations yesterday.

“The cessation of hostilities was maintained in the past 24 hours. There was however, four air violations by Israeli jets and drones recorded yesterday,” the statement said.

As part of its humanitarian efforts, the Mission also distributed drinking water to villagers in El Khiam, Houle, Ebel Es Saqi and Wadi Khansa, and in total supplied 35,000 litres.

 

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Aug 12, 2006

Latest UN Resolution on Lebanon - UNSCR1701 - below

BREAKING NEWS ON UN RESOLUTION!

We have published two versions of this new Security Council Resolution:

1. The Resolution itself with no additional info.

2. Following this we have published the official UN release which includes the resolution and introduction, comments and videos. See it at this link:

1. Link to UNSC Resolution 1701

11 August 2006

Secretary-General
SG/SM/10595
SC/8809

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘IT IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL THAT THE FIGHTING NOW STOP’, SECRETARY-GENERAL


TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON LEBANON


Following is the text of the statement by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council on 11 August:


I welcome wholeheartedly the resolution you are about to adopt, and I am greatly relieved that it provides for a full and immediate cessation of hostilities.  It is absolutely vital that the fighting now stop.  Provided it does, I believe this resolution will make it possible to conclude a sustainable and lasting ceasefire agreement in the days ahead.  And I hope that this could be the beginning of a process to solve the underlying political problems in the region through peaceful means.  


But I would be remiss if I did not tell you how profoundly disappointed I am that the Council did not reach this point much, much earlier.  And I am convinced that my disappointment and sense of frustration are shared by hundreds of millions of people around the world.  For weeks now, I and many others have been calling repeatedly for an immediate cessation of hostilities, for the sake of the civilian population on both sides who have suffered such terrible, unnecessary pain and loss.  All members of this Council must be aware that its inability to act sooner has badly shaken the world’s faith in its authority and integrity. 


Since 12 July, when Hizbollah launched an unprovoked attack on Israel, killing eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two, both Lebanon and Israel have been thrown back into the turmoil of war, death and destruction.


According to the Government of Lebanon, over a thousand Lebanese have been killed, and over 3600 injured.  Around a quarter of all Lebanon’s inhabitants -– close to a million people -– have been displaced. 


Too many of the victims have been children.  In fact, more children than fighters have been killed in this conflict.  Israeli bombing has turned thousands of homes to rubble.  It has also destroyed dozens of bridges and roads, with the result that more than a hundred thousand people cannot reach safety, nor can relief supplies reach them.  Such devastation would be tragic at any time.  That it has been inflicted on Lebanon’s people just when they were making real progress towards political reform and economic recovery makes it all the more so.


Israelis, for their part, have been newly awakened to a threat which they hoped, with good reason, to have escaped when –- as this Council certified on my recommendation –- they withdrew from Lebanon six years ago.  Some 41 Israeli civilians have been killed, and hundreds of thousands have had their lives disrupted -- being forced into shelters or to flee their homes -– by rocket attacks from Hizbollah, which has launched its fire indiscriminately, to sow the widest possible terror, making no effort to distinguish between civilian and military targets, and also endangering civilians on its own side by firing from the midst of heavily populated areas.


Nor has the damage been limited to Lebanon and Israel.  A region that could ill afford another chapter of violence, and another source of instability, has been inflamed further still.  Extremists have been given new ammunition.  The United Nations itself has been a target of protest and violence, despite the Organization’s humanitarian efforts, including those of our valiant peacekeepers in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), to reach people trapped in the crossfire.  UNIFIL has had to cope with a situation for which it was neither mandated nor equipped.


I am full of pride and admiration for the courage that the men and women who serve under the UN flag, and indeed all the humanitarian workers, have shown, since 12 July, in carrying out their duties in the midst of intense fighting, which has injured 16 UN personnel and, tragically, caused the deaths of five.


Indeed, UNIFIL’s tenacity has made possible the diplomatic solution you have just forged.  Without it, you would have had to face the difficult prospect of UNIFIL’s withdrawal.  Indeed, you may yet have to face it in the hours and days ahead, if the immediate cessation of hostilities called for in this resolution does not hold.


So this resolution comes none too soon, and it marks a vital step forward.  I am glad that Council members have been able to resolve their differences, accommodating many points of view, and I hope they will adopt this text unanimously.  Having done so, they must work with equal determination to make what they have agreed fully effective on the ground.


First of all, humanitarian convoys and relief workers must be given a real guarantee of safe passage and access to those who need help.  As soon as the fighting stops, the daunting challenge of helping people to return to their homes safely and rebuild their lives begins.


Secondly, the resolution rightly has at its core Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, consistent with your resolutions 425, 1559 and 1680.  The international community must give the Lebanese Government all possible support, so that it can make that sovereignty effective.  The Government, acting through its regular armed forces and police, must be able to assert its authority throughout the country and on all its borders, particularly to prevent illegal and destabilizing flows of arms.  Only when there is one authority, and one gun, will there be a chance of lasting stability.  The Lebanese State, like any other sovereign State, must have a monopoly of the use of force on its own territory.


That implies, of course, a full and swift Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory.  We now have a clear scenario for achieving that. 


The decision of the Lebanese Government to deploy 15,000 of the country’s Armed Forces to the south is a significant development.  But, ready and willing as the Army may be to undertake this task, the Government itself has acknowledged the need for help.  This makes the Council’s decision to strengthen the mandate and the numbers of UNIFIL a vital ingredient of the package.


Now, UNIFIL faces a new task, perhaps even more difficult and dangerous than its previous one.  It must be robust and effective, and ensure that no vacuum is left between the Israeli withdrawal and the deployment of Lebanese forces.  Obviously, if it is to carry out this new mandate, it needs to be augmented with the utmost urgency, and provided with sophisticated military capabilities.  The Council cannot afford to relax for one minute.  I urge its members to consult closely, and at once, with both existing and potential troop contributors, with a view to generating the additional forces needed as quickly as possible, before the situation on the ground once again spins out of control.  And I urge you to make sure they have the equipment they will need. 


I also appeal to all potential donors to respond swiftly to requests from the Lebanese Government for financial help, as it struggles to reconstruct its devastated country.


Some may well be reluctant to do so, without solid assurances that this time peace is here to stay.  Such assurances are indeed essential.  And they must rest, not only on the cessation of hostilities or the deployment of an expanded peace force, but on the resolution of fundamental underlying political problems, including the release of prisoners, starting with those who have been taken hostage, and a resolution of the Shebaa Farms issue in accordance with resolution 1680. 


I will therefore lose no time in taking up the role assigned to me in today’s resolution.  We have just had a terrible lesson in the dangers of allowing problems to fester.  We must by now all know that unless we address unfinished business, it can and will take us unawares.


The Lebanese Cabinet will meet tomorrow, and the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday, to review the resolution.  Over the weekend I will undertake to establish with both parties the exact date and time at which the cessation of hostilities will come into effect.


Lebanon has been a victim for too long.  Mired in an incomplete political transformation since the end of the civil war, it has remained an arena in which both domestic and regional actors could play out their self-interested schemes.  Such exploitation of a vulnerable country is shameful.  It has undermined the laudable effort of many Lebanese citizens to consolidate their country as a sovereign, independent and democratic State.


The country and its people deserve better.  They deserve the full support of the United Nations, in their effort to cast off the chains of external interference and domestic strife.  Doing so will require both the establishment of national consensus among Lebanese and constructive cooperation, based on mutual goodwill and sustained dialogue, by all relevant parties and actors on the regional level, including the Governments of Syria and Iran.


Indeed, over the last five weeks we have been reminded yet again what a fragile, tense and crisis-ridden region the Middle East has become –- probably now more complex and difficult than ever before.  It is now undergoing changes, shiftsand realignments on a scale, and of a strategic significance, not seen since the colonial powers withdrew at the end of the Second World War.  Perhaps even more ominous than the physical destruction are the changes in perception that have been occurring, both inside the region and beyond it.  The Middle East, which has long figured at the very top of this Council’s agenda, is likely to remain there for years to come.


The resolution you are about to adopt is only one step towards the comprehensive approach that is needed.  Other steps will need to be taken –- many others.  In order to prevent yet another eruption of violence and bloodshed, the international community must now be prepared to offer sustained support and assistance for the political and economic reconstruction of Lebanon, and also to address the broader context of crisis in the region. 


In particular, we must not turn our backs on the bloodshed, suffering and hardship that have continued to afflict Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, or the danger from Qassam rockets that continues to threaten the Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip. 


Progress in the Middle East peace process would undoubtedly facilitate the resolution of conflicts elsewhere in the region, and vice versa.  Therefore, the various crises in the region must henceforth be addressed not in isolation or bilaterally, but as part of a holistic and comprehensive effort, sanctioned and championed by this Council, to bring peace and stability to the region as a whole.


The parallel crises in Lebanon and Gaza over the past few weeks have demonstrated, once again, that there are no military solutions to this conflict.  War is not, and I repeat, war is not “the continuation of politics by other means”.  On the contrary, it represents a catastrophic failure of political skill and imagination –- a dethronement of peaceful politics from the primacy which it should enjoy.  By taking the first step today towards ending the fighting in Lebanon, the Council is belatedly reasserting that primacy –- as the founders of this Organization expected it to do.


Only political solutions will be sustainable in the long term.  The peace treaties between Israel and Egypt, and between Israel and Jordan, are expressions of stable political arrangements and agreements.  Through these treaties, the leaders of the countries concerned have courageously brought stability and peace to borders that were previously beset with violence, and thus to their peoples.  Ultimately, similar arrangements, based on foundations that are well known to all of us, will have to be put in place along all the borders where there is conflict.  Only comprehensive solutions can bring lasting peace.


The United Nations stands for a just solution to all these issues.  We stand for security for Lebanon, for Israel, for the region.  We stand for a comprehensive solution, and must therefore do our utmost to address all the separate but intertwined issues and conflicts in the region, whether manifest or latent.  Delays will mean only more lost lives, more shattered hopes, and a further decline in the standing and authority of this Council and the Organization.


We must spare the people of Lebanon, of Israel, and of the wider region any further bloodshed -- both now and in the months and years ahead.


* *** *

Latest UN DOC's - Download the pdf's below

BREAKING NEWS ON UN RESOLUTION!1. Draft of UNSC Resolution (English)

2. Draft of UNSC Resolution (Arabic)

3. Note on UNSCR - By Dr. Walid Phares

4. Dr. Walid Phares on Hijacking Lebanon's Answer to the UN

 

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
 

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, 10 August 2006 

  

  ANNAN URGES SECURITY COUNCIL TO PASS RESOLUTION ON LEBANON

  • Secretary-General Kofi Annan is working very intensely with Security Council members and key leaders, both here and in capitals, to push for a resolution concerning the situation along the Blue Line.

  • He reiterates his call that the fighting must stop to save civilians on both sides from the nightmare they have endured for the past four weeks.

  • The Secretary-General believes that it ought to be possible for the Security Council to adopt a resolution by the end of the week.

  • Asked about the meeting that the Secretary-General had this morning with US Ambassador John Bolton and French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, the Spokesman said that the meeting was requested by the ambassadors, and they discussed the draft resolution.

  • The meeting was part of the Secretary-General’s ongoing contacts with Member States on the resolution. This is the time, he stressed, for diplomatic activity. The Secretary-General, the Spokesman added in response to a further question, remains focused on the work on the resolution.

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s contacts with senior US officials, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General today had spoken by phone with US Secretary of State Condoleeezza Rice, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The Secretary-General’s last conversation with US President George W. Bush was a few days ago, he added.

  • Asked whether UN ambassadors are seeking the Secretary-General’s input on the resolution, the Spokesman said that the members of the Security Council, and particularly the co-sponsors, are in the lead and are keeping the Secretary-General informed. In his phone contacts, the Secretary-General has been stressing his message on the need for a resolution and a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible.

  • Asked about a meeting scheduled at the Human Rights Council on Friday on Lebanon, the Spokesman said that, given the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, the Secretary-General believes that the approach should be to look at the action of both sides.

  • Asked about a letter that the US Anti-Defamation League sent to the Secretary-General, Dujarric said he believed the tone of their recent advertisement was misplaced, and he believed that a thorough reading of the Secretary-General’s statements would show that he has condemned all actions that have led to the deaths of civilians.

 

U.N. FORCE IN LEBANON RECEIVES NEW, LIMITED SUPPLIES AS FIGHTING CONTINUES

  • The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has received fuel that can allow the Force to re-supply its Indian battalion. A UN convoy began its journey today from UNIFIL’s Naqoura headquarters on its way to re-supply the Indian battalion, although that effort may be complicated by the heavy fighting in the eastern sector. The Israeli Defense Forces, meanwhile, have not responded yet to the repeated requests by UNIFIL to reopen the road between Tyre and Beirut by putting up another provisional bridge over the Litani River.

  • UNIFIL says that a planned humanitarian convoy to distribute food to the villages in the western sector could not proceed in the last four days due to the denial of consent by the IDF. But the UN Mission was able to provide medical assistance to a wounded Lebanese civilian and relocated him to the UNIFIL hospital in Naqoura. 

  • The peacekeeping mission adds that four mortar rounds from the Hezbollah side impacted directly inside a UNIFIL position, in the area of Deir Mimess, yesterday evening, causing extensive material damage but no casualties. Two rockets from an unknown source also impacted directly inside a UNIFIL position in the area of Tibnin yesterday evening.

  • Meanwhile, the Mission reports five incidents of firing from the Israeli side close to UN positions.

 

HUMANITARIAN ACCESS IN LEBANON SEVERELY IMPAIRED

  • Lebanon is one of the worst places in the world in terms of humanitarian access, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland told reporters in Geneva today. He said there are more than 200,000 people in the country to whom humanitarian workers have no access. Despite the assurances given by both the Lebanese and Israeli Governments, as well as through messages from Hizbollah, Egeland said the humanitarian convoys have not been working as they were supposed to.   

  • “Hezbollah and the Israelis could give us access in a heartbeat,” he said. “Then we could help the 120,000 people in southern Lebanon.”

  • Egeland added that the situation globally for humanitarian workers over the last month has been one of the worst ever, in terms of providing assistance to vulnerable populations worldwide and safety and security to humanitarian workers in the field. Dozens of humanitarian field workers have been killed in recent weeks, including 17 in Sri Lanka and nine in Darfur.

  • On Darfur, Egeland said there was more than a 100% increase in violent clashes in the first half of 2006, compared to the first half of last year. “The situation in Darfur was going from really bad to catastrophic,” he said.

 

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CONVOYS FACE DELAYS AND RESTRICTIONS IN LEBANON

  • UN humanitarian staff in Lebanon today said that 15 trucks carrying relief items left for the western town of Baalbek this morning. That convoy includes food aid from the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as other assistance from the UN Population Fund and World Health Organization, among others.

  • No clearances were received from the Israel Defence Force for a humanitarian aid convoy to travel to Nabatiyeh, in the south.

  • The World Food Programme today also voiced concern that, without vital supply lines to help an estimated 100,000 people stranded south of the Litani River, aid convoys will remain paralysed.

  • “Above all, we require a cessation of hostilities by both sides to allow humanitarian aid through,” said Zlatan Milisic, the WFP Emergency Coordinator in Lebanon.

  • Asked about the problems facing WFP convoys in southern Lebanon, the Spokesman noted that WFP was trying to bring its convoys across the Litani River from Beirut.

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**Questions and Answers


 

Question:  It’s on Lebanon.  This morning, there was an unscheduled meeting between the Secretary-General, John Bolton and Ambassador de la Sablière, can you tell us who requested the meeting, what was the purpose, and how do you characterize the discussions?  And also, what’s the outcome?  There was a readout?


 

Spokesman:  The meeting was at the request of the ambassadors who asked to see the Secretary-General.  They obviously discussed the situation concerning the resolution, but I think you would have to ask them for more details.  This is part of the Secretary-General’s ongoing contacts with Security Council members on the resolution.


 

Question:  Both Ambassadors asked for the meeting?


 

Spokesman:  That’s my understanding.


 

Question:  I just wanted to find out, also, besides this meeting, has the Secretary-General also been in contact either with the American President or Condoleezza Rice about this issue and situation?  Also, can you tell me, does the Secretary-General have anything –- Israel has apparently delayed movement into Lebanon?  Does the Secretary-General have an opinion as to how it would impact talks?


 

Spokesman:  Obviously, this is the moment for the diplomatic activity, which is extensive and intensive, focused here in New York and a number of capitals.  The Secretary-General was on the phone this morning with the Foreign Minister of Israel, with the Prime Minister of Lebanon and the Secretary of State.  And as I said, this is really part of his ongoing contacts with the parties involved in this situation.


 

Question:  Did he speak with President Bush at all?


 

Spokesman:  I think we told you, last contact was a few days ago.  There have been no contacts since.  Laura, and then we’ll go to James and Benny.


 

Question:  Thing about Israel...?


 

Spokesman:  You know, this should be seen as the moment for diplomatic activity.  And again, the Secretary-General would reiterate his call for an immediate cessation.


 

Question:  Steph, I just wanted to ask you.  Because at the top of the briefing you said that there are fuel convoys that are going to fuel the UNIFIL positions.  Because the UNIFIL press release, which is from this morning, and I know you –-


 

Spokesman:  This is updated.  Since then, a ship was able to dock in Naqoura and offload a number of supplies for UNIFIL, which is then being transported -- which we’re trying to transport by road to some of the forward positions.


 

Question:  Right, then you also said later in the briefing is that there was no IDF okay for WFP convoys to travel south.  Are they...?


 

Spokesman:  Well, this has to –- they’re coming from different ways.  Part of them are coming south from Beirut.  We’re obviously -- UNIFIL is working closely with the IDF to get the necessary assurances of safety for its convoys to re-supply the troops.  But the WFP ones, I think, were trying to come north from Beirut across the Litani River, which is a different route.  Yes, James?


 

Question:  The Secretary-General has spoken to the Lebanese Prime Minister today was that?


 

Spokesman:  Yes, he did.


 

Question:  Can you tell us whether he thinks the Lebanese Prime Minister is willing to accept the latest proposals by the US and the French?


 

Spokesman:  No, I can’t go into the details.


 

Question:  Can you characterize that conversation?


 

Spokesman:  No, the only way to characterize the conversation is part of the intense discussions the Secretary-General has had.


 

Question:  The last contact with President Assad of Syria was yesterday or was there one today?


 

Spokesman:  No, there was none today.  I’d have to check the phone logs.


 

Question:  Just one follow-up question if I may.  What is the Secretary-General doing tonight?  Does he have any plans for tonight?  Is he meeting any Security Council ministers tonight for instance?


 

Spokesman:   I’m not briefed on his evening programme, but he remains focused on the work relating to the resolution and he may very well have more meetings as the day goes on.  Yes, Benny?


 

Question:  From your briefing, I assume that the Secretary-General is aware that the Security Council is seized of the question of Lebanon and Israel?


 

Spokesman:  That’s correct.


 

Question:  Article 12 of the UN Charter says that if the Security Council is seized of a certain matter, the General Assembly should not deal with it, and the Secretary-General should inform the General Assembly that the Security Council is seized of the matter.  Now, there’s an emergency session tomorrow of an organ of the General Assembly, which is the jewel of Kofi Annan’s reform, the Human Rights Council, about this.  Has the Secretary-General informed the Human Rights Council that the Security Council is seized of this matter?


 

Spokesman:  I will have to get an opinion from the Legal Office before I answer that question.  I think in terms of the general situation regarding violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, the Secretary-General believes that the seriousness of the situation has affected civilians on both sides and that the approach should be to look at what has happened on both sides.  Yes?


 

Question:  And follow-up, has the Secretary-General received the letter from the Anti-Defamation League in the same vein as an ad that was in today’s New York Times that says that basically he has not -- has been one-sided [inaudible] –-


 

Spokesman:  I’m not aware that the letter has been received, but I think the tone of the ad is misplaced and people should read his statements in full and see that the Secretary-General has expressed condemnation for the death of all civilians.  Yes?


 

Question:  One more follow-up, on the last phone call with Assad, has Assad told him something to the effect that the last version of the resolution was unacceptable and [talkover].


 

Spokesman:  I’m not able to characterize the tone of that conversation.  Joe?


 

Question:  I have two questions.  On the meeting today, are these meetings between the ambassadors and the Secretary-General to inform the Secretary-General what the status of the negotiations are, or are they seeking input from him, some ideas that he might have to break the deadlock or to ask him to make phone calls like [inaudible] to get on the phone to the Syrian leader, that kind of thing?


 

Spokesman:  You know, the Security Council members and the two co-drafters are in the lead of writing that resolution and they are keeping the Secretary-General informed.  Through his phone calls, the Secretary-General has been pushing his global message, which was the one I referred to in the beginning.  But I’m not going to go and characterize and go into the details of exactly all the conversations and discussions that are going on.


 

Question:  Is it his own initiative to make these calls or is he being asked to represent [inaudible]?


 

Spokesman:  No, this is, some of these calls he receives and other calls he makes at his initiative.


 

Question:  The United States is not speaking to Syria, so are they using the Secretary-General...?


 

Spokesman:  I’m not going into that level of detail.  Yes?


 

Question:  Unrelated.  UNIFIL, they keep statistics, I assume.  Can you tell us from them how many rockets were fired from Hizbollah positions into Israel from 2000 when the withdrawal began to the beginning of hostilities now?  Is that something they might have?


 

Spokesman:  We can check.  I mean they do monitor and, regularly over the past four, five or six years they’ve put out press releases with these things.  So, we can see if they have some sort of global numbers.  Yes, Mr. Pincas?


 

Question:  I have an observation here –-


 

Spokesman:  I hope, I’d like to restrict this briefing to questions.  So, if you have a question, please.


 

Question:  It’s a very serious question.  It’s difference in information given to us here and information that’s given in Geneva.  Now I’m reading from the 8 August United Nations Information Service Geneva document, which you distribute here.  Now, in this document, the draft resolution that was presented here on Saturday is described as a French resolution, a French draft.  We were told that this was an America-French draft.  Which is the fact?


 

The second question deals with the finances.  On finances, the appeal for Lebanon produced $41 million -– that’s the Lebanon flash appeal –- which represents 26 per cent of what was appealed.  In addition, $28 million was given to the World Food Programme, but...


 

Spokesman:  Are you trying to get numbers?  We can –- no, listen, Mr. Pincas.  No, I understand.  Mr. Pincas, we will get you numbers from OCHA on the Lebanon Appeal.  I can’t comment in detail on what you’re reading.  If there’s a discrepancy, we apologize for it, but I will get you those financial numbers.


 

Question:  That’s not my question here.  My question is that $337 million was pledged by the oil-exporting countries.  This information wasn’t given to us.  My question is, for what purpose was that, because this is outside what is being described as humanitarian aid.  This is a serious question.


 

Spokesman:  I will try and get an answer to your question about the information flow between here and Geneva.


 

Question:  What was the draft from Saturday?  Was it French or was it American?


 

Spokesman:  I think you would have to speak to the members of the Council.


 

Correspondent:  [Inaudible]


 

Spokesman:  You will have to speak to the members of the Council.  We are not the sponsors of the resolution.  You will have to speak to them.


 

Question:  Two questions.  First, the UNIFIL position that was hit.  Do you know how many UNIFIL people were stuck there and where they were at the time of...?


 

Spokesman:  The one that was hit today by Hizbollah?


 

Question:  The Deir Mimess.


 

Spokesman:  Yeah, I don’t have those details with me but we can find out right afterwards.


 

Question:  The second thing about the oil spill in Lebanon.  The two UN experts dispatched to Syria, part of the plan was that they were going to take samples to figure out what kind of oil we’re dealing with.  Do you have any idea when those results are due?


 

Spokesman:  No.  But we can check with UNEP (the United Nations Environment Programme) after the briefing.  Yes, Matthew?

 

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
 

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, 8 August 2006 

  

LEBANON: ANNAN SUPPORTS CALLS FOR PROBE OF QANA BOMBING

  • Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday afternoon submitted, as requested, a letter to the Security Council on the circumstances of the incident that took place in the Lebanese city of Qana on 30 July.
  • The Secretary-General notes that a proper gathering of all relevant facts cannot be completed in seven day, and adds that no UN personnel were present at Qana when the Israeli air strikes occurred. The UN peacekeeping mission was not in a position to confirm or deny whether Hezbollah was launching military activities from Qana prior to or on 30 July.
  • In the letter, the Secretary-General expresses his grave distress at the tragic events in Qana and by the overall effect of the conflict on civilians in Lebanon and Israel. He says that the attack on Qana should be seen in the broader context of what could be, based on preliminary information available to the United Nations, a pattern of violations of international law.
  • The effects of the current conflict on civilians in Lebanon and Israel rise to a level of seriousness that requires further gathering of information, including violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, he writes. Accordingly, the Secretary-General supports the calls for a more comprehensive investigation.
  • Asked about the difference between the number of casualties listed in the report and the Secretary-General’s comments to the Security Council of 30 July when he said that at least 56 people had been killed there, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General had made it clear at the time that he was basing his preliminary information on what the Lebanese authorities were saying.
  • Asked insistently how casualty figures for civilians, as well as the numbers of displaced civilians, were calculated, the Spokesman reiterated the Secretary-General’s point about the difficulty of gathering comprehensive information in seven days. The information in the letter was based partly on data gathered by UNIFIL, and other sources of information were mentioned in annexes to the letter.
  • The Spokesman reiterated that the report should be looked at in the context of the deadly effect on Lebanese and Israeli civilians, as well as the displacement of one quarter of Lebanon’s population and the large number of Israelis having to move to shelters for their safety. Such a situation, he said, rises to a level that requires the further gathering of information, including violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
  • Asked whether the report satisfies the Security Council’s request and what type of further investigation the Secretary-General was suggesting, Dujarric said that the report was in response to the Council’s Presidential Statement, and the United Nations now awaits the response from the members of the Council on what the next steps should be.
  • Asked what the Secretary-General meant in his conclusions, the Spokesman said that the broader context is that a large number of those killed on both sides of the Blue Line had been civilians.
  • Asked what action the United Nations is taking to ensure that evidence is not tampered in Qana or at the UN observer post in Khiam, the Spokesman said that the Government of Lebanon is responsible for Qana, while the United Nations still holds responsibility for the Khiam post.

 

FIGHTING RAGES IN BLUE LINE BETWEEN ISRAEL/LEBANON

  • The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reports intensive Israeli air strikes and shelling this morning in its eastern sector of operations, and adds that Israeli gunboats also shelled the coastal areas north of Naqoura.
  • There were two incidents of firing from the Israeli side close to a UNIFIL position in the area of El Meri, and one incident of firing close to a UNIFIL position by Hezbollah in the area of Hula yesterday.
  • The UN Mission adds that this morning, Hezbollah fired rockets from the vicinity of the UN position in Tibnin, and the Israeli Air Force carried out air strikes on the areas from which the fire originated. UNIFIL strongly protested all these incidents to the Lebanese and Israeli authorities respectively.
  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s position regarding the Lebanese Government’s offer to deploy 15,000 troops in southern Lebanon, the Spokesman said that the deployment of the Lebanese army to the south is in keeping with earlier plans, and is broadly consistent with the Secretary-General's position. He said the United Nations welcomes the Government of Lebanon’s proposal but added that any deployment by the army would need to be assisted by UNIFIL or a UN force.
  • The timing for any such deployment by the army remains among the issues to be worked out, he said.
  • Asked whether troop contributors are expressing interest in forming a new contingent in southern Lebanon, Dujarric said that some informal contacts were being held, but added it was a “chicken and egg” situation, with some potential contributors waiting to see what mandate would be given before committing troops.
  • Asked whether the Secretary-General would be in contact with Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General’s interlocutor was the Government of Lebanon, of which Lebanon is a member.

 

LEBANON: FIGHTING SLOWS HUMANITARIAN HELP, U.N AGENCIES SAY

  • According to UN humanitarian agencies on the ground in Lebanon, the southern city of Tyre is currently effectively cut off, since the Israeli bombing of a provisional bridge across the Litani River yesterday. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is looking into repairing the bridge, but is first seeking assurances from the Israeli Defense Forces that it would not be destroyed again.
  • The United Nations is looking into alternative routes for providing aid to Lebanon by sea, especially with the bad condition of the road transport network due to Israeli raids. One major route would be by sea directly to Beirut, Sidon and Tyre.
  • Fuel shipments are ready to be sent to Lebanon as soon as the security situation allows. Fuel tanks are also ready to be sent from Beirut to other areas in Lebanon in convoys, provided security is ensured.
  • The World Health Organization yesterday urged all parties to secure safe passage of fuel supplies for health facilities. WHO has warned that if fuel is not delivered this week, 60% of all hospitals in Lebanon, in addition to other health facilities will simply cease to function.
  • Asked what is delaying arrangements for a sea route to southern Lebanon, the Spokesman said that part of the hold-up concerns providing ship owners with guarantees regarding insurance and safety issues, which the United Nations is pursuing with ship owners and the Israeli authorities.
  • Asked about UN action in repairing bridges, the Spokesman said that the United Nations’ concern is in providing humanitarian assistance to people in need in the south, which would involve rebuilding bridges. The United Nations wants assurances that when it does so, the bridges would not simply be destroyed again, and is in liaison with the Israeli authorities on that matter.
  • Asked about the alleged use of depleted uranium (DU) in Lebanon, the Spokesman said that the Department of Disarmament Affairs said that the United Nations does not have a clear position on the use of DU munitions. He added that the use of DU had been examined in Bosnia and Kosovo, in the context of post-conflict situations.

 

LEBANON: U.N. TO ASSESS DAMAGE CAUSED BY OIL SPILL

  • The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says that two experts have arrived in Syria to evaluate the consequences of the oil spill that’s already polluted over 140 kilometres of the Lebanese coastline and has spread north into Syrian waters.
  • At this stage information about the extent of the spill remains sketchy and no clean-up action has been possible.
  • UNEP says that in the worst case scenario, and if all the oil contained in the bombed Jiyyeh power plant leaked into the sea, the Lebanese oil spill could well rival the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989.
  • Asked why it was not safe to pursue action dealing with the oil spill, the Spokesman said it was because of military activity.
  • Asked how the oil spill compared to the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989, the Spokesman later noted that UNEP says that, in the worst case scenario, if all the oil contained in the bombed Jiyyeh power plant leaked into the sea, the Lebanese oil spill could well rival the Exxon Valdez disaster.

 

EMERGENCY SUPPLIES TO LEBANON DELAYED: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY

  • The UN Refugee Agency reports that a humanitarian relief convoy originally expected in Beirut yesterday was still being held back at the border between Lebanon and Syria, awaiting final security clearance to proceed. The six-truck convoy is carrying emergency supplies of blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and tents.
  • Meanwhile, the agency says that its Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Judy Cheng-Hopkins is scheduled to arrive today in Damascus on a three- day visit. During her stay in the Syrian capital, she will meet with senior government officials, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and UN agencies. She will make a field visit to Homs and to the border with Lebanon.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD MEETING ON MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

  • At 3:30 p.m. the Security Council will hold a meeting on the situation in the Middle East, during which the Security Council is expected to hear the views of an Arab League delegation regarding the draft resolution on Lebanon. 
  • The Secretary-General is expected to attend.
  • Asked about the other activities of the Arab League delegation, the Spokesman said that the delegation would meet with the Secretary-General at 2:30 today.
  • The speakers for the Council meeting, he added in response to another question, would be the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, as well as representatives from Israel and Lebanon.
  • Asked whether there would be a ministerial-level meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday, the Spokesman said he was not aware of any such meeting.
  • Asked whether the Secretary-General is dismayed at the pace of Council action on Lebanon, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General continues to believe that we need a resolution and a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible, to alleviate the suffering of civilians on both sides. The discussions are continuing, he added, and the United Nations hopes for a resolution soon.
  • The delegation would meet with the Secretary-General at 2:30 today.
  • The speakers for the Council meeting, he added in response to another question, would be the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, as well as representatives from Israel and Lebanon.
  • Asked whether there would be a ministerial-level meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday, the Spokesman said he was not aware of any such meeting.

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