Permanent Ceasefire to Be Based on Creation
Of Buffer Zone Free of Armed Personnel Other than UN, Lebanese Forces
Expressing utmost concern at the spiralling deadly violence and destruction in Lebanon, the Security Council today called for a full cessation of hostilities in the month-long war between Israel and Hizbollah, mapping out a formula for the phased withdrawal of the Israel Defence Forces from southern Lebanon, while up to 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers help Lebanese troops take control of the area.
The Council’s concern over the hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, the extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and massive internal displacement triggered by the 12 July abduction of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, led the 15-nation body to unanimously adopt resolution 1701 (2006), which calls for “the immediate cessation by Hizbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations” in Lebanon.
Aware of its responsibilities to help secure a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution to the conflict, the Security Council created a buffer zone free of “any armed personnel” –- both Hizbollah militants and Israeli troops -- between the United Nations-drawn Blue Line in southern Lebanon and the Litani River (12 miles from the Israeli border), and called for both Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and comprehensive solution to the crisis.
Tonight’s action caps a week of intense negotiations on the French and United States-negotiated text, which had been introduced this past Saturday but met with stiff resistance from Arab leaders, who said it disregarded key Lebanese concerns in favour of Israel. It sparked an urgent visit to New York by senior Arab League officials who pleaded Lebanon’s case in a closed-door meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and presented to the Council an Arab-backed deal which, included the Lebanese Government’s demand for a broad ceasefire and, among other things, called for a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbollah.
In a lengthy address ahead of the Council’s action, the Secretary-General said he was greatly relieved that the resolution provided for a full and immediate cessation of all hostilities. “It is absolutely vital that the fighting now stop”, he said, adding: “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 Mr. Annan said he was profoundly disappointed that the Council had not reached this point much earlier, and that he was convinced that his disappointment and sense of frustration were shared by hundreds of millions of people around the world. For weeks now, he had been calling repeatedly for an immediate cessation of hostilities, for the sake of the civilian population on both sides. “All members of this Council must be aware that this inability to act sooner has badly shaken the world’s faith in its authority and integrity”, Mr. Annan said, adding that “War is not politics by other means”, but “represents a catastrophic failure of political skill and imagination.”
He said that, with the Lebanese Cabinet meeting tomorrow, and the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday, to review the resolution, he would work over the weekend on the task entrusted to him under the text, namely to establish with both parties the exact date and time at which the cessation of hostilities would come into effect. He would also begin working with the parties on proposals to delineate the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa Farms and report to the Council within 30 days.
The new resolution emphasizes the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizes the need to urgently address the causes that have given rise to the crisis, including the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers. “Mindful of the sensitivity of the issue of prisoners”, the text also encourages the efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel.
It also calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a long-term solution based on, among others, full respect for the Blue Line by both parties; full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords; no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its Government; no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its Government; and provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of landmines in Lebanon in Israel’s possession.
Welcoming the 7 August decision of the Lebanese Government to deploy 15,000 armed troops in Southern Lebanon, the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) through the end of August 2007, and increased its troop strength –- currently at some 2,000 -– to a maximum of 15,000. In addition to carrying out its original mandate under Council resolutions 425 and 426 (1978), UNIFIL would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.
The text emphasizes the importance of the Government of Lebanon extending its control over all Lebanese territory in accordance with the provisions of Council resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), and calls upon that Government to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry, without its consent, of arms or related materiel. It further decides that all States shall take the necessary measures to prevent, “by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft” the sale or supply of arms and related materiel of all types, to any entity or individual in Lebanon.
Lebanon’s Acting Foreign Minister Tarek Mitri told the Council that, while his country is eager to see a cessation of hostilities, the nature of the cessation must be the same for both sides. “The Lebanese are not confident in [an] Israeli distinction between ‘defensive’ and ‘offensive’. The end to military operations should be unqualified”, he said, adding that “the obscenely disproportionate and unjustifiable Israeli retaliation” has already led to the deaths of more than 1,000 Lebanese.
Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the way to avoid the crisis between Israel and Lebanon had been clear: implementation of the unconditional obligations set out in resolutions 1559 and 1680, which had set out issues for resolutions between Syria and Lebanon. The clear path forward was by disarming and disbanding Hizbollah and other militias, as well as by Lebanon’s exercise of authority over all its territory. But the will to implement such actions had been lacking, leading the people of Israel and Lebanon to pay a heavy price. The resolution adopted this evening represented “an opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past and to create a genuine new reality in our region”.
“Finally, the Security Council of the United Nations is deciding to halt war in Lebanon and Israel”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Philippe Douste-Blazy, adding that, by adopting the present resolution, the world community was shouldering its responsibilities to put an end to the destruction for hundreds of thousands of displaced people on both sides of the border, and to an economic and humanitarian situation that had grown more tragic by the day. He called on all countries to contribute to a reinforced UNIFIL, and said France, which was already part of the Force, was examining the additional supplementary support that it might be able to provide.
“Now, the hard and urgent work of implementation begins”, said United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, stressing that the resolution would allow a new, stronger Lebanon to emerge, with the world’s help. She urged the Governments of Israel and Lebanon to commit to ending large-scale violence, adding that “Hizbollah now faces a clear choice between war and peace, and the world should help to ensure that the choice is the right one”. The most pressing challenge was to help thousands of displaced people, she said, pledging the support of the United States in that effort.
Also speaking this evening were the Foreign Ministers of Qatar, Greece, United Kingdom, Denmark and Ghana.
The representatives of China, Slovakia, Russian Federation, Argentina, Japan, United Republic of Tanzania, and Peru also spoke.
The meeting began at 7:04 p.m. and ended at 9:15 p.m.
The full text of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978), 520 (1982), 1559 (2004), 1655 (2006) 1680 (2006) and 1697 (2006), as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statements of 18 June 2000 (S/PRST/2000/21), of 19 October 2004 (S/PRST/2004/36), of 4 May 2005 (S/PRST/2005/17), of 23 January 2006 (S/PRST/2006/3) and of 30 July 2006 (S/PRST/2006/35),
“Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hizbollah’s attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons,
“Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers,
“Mindful of the sensitivity of the issue of prisoners and encouraging the efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel,
“Welcoming the efforts of the Lebanese Prime Minister and the commitment of the Government of Lebanon, in its seven-point plan, to extend its authority over its territory, through its own legitimate armed forces, such that there will be no weapons without the consent of the Government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the Government of Lebanon, welcoming also its commitment to a United Nations force that is supplemented and enhanced in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operation, and bearing in mind its request in this plan for an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from southern Lebanon,
“Determined to act for this withdrawal to happen at the earliest,
“Taking due note of the proposals made in the seven-point plan regarding the Shebaa farms area,
“Welcoming the unanimous decision by the Government of Lebanon on 7 August 2006 to deploy a Lebanese armed force of 15,000 troops in South Lebanon as the Israeli army withdraws behind the Blue Line and to request the assistance of additional forces from UNIFIL as needed, to facilitate the entry of the Lebanese armed forces into the region and to restate its intention to strengthen the Lebanese armed forces with material as needed to enable it to perform its duties,
“Aware of its responsibilities to help secure a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution to the conflict,
“Determining that the situation in Lebanon constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
“1. Calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hizbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations;
“2. Upon full cessation of hostilities, calls upon the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL as authorized by paragraph 11 to deploy their forces together throughout the South and calls upon the Government of Israel, as that deployment begins, to withdraw all of its forces from southern Lebanon in parallel;
“3. Emphasizes the importance of the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1559 (2004) and resolution 1680 (2006), and of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, for it to exercise its full sovereignty, so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the Government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the Government of Lebanon;
“4. Reiterates its strong support for full respect for the Blue Line;
“5. Also reiterates its strong support, as recalled in all its previous relevant resolutions, for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders, as contemplated by the Israeli-Lebanese General Armistice Agreement of 23 March 1949;
“6. Calls on the international community to take immediate steps to extend its financial and humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people, including through facilitating the safe return of displaced persons and, under the authority of the Government of Lebanon, reopening airports and harbours, consistent with paragraphs 14 and 15, and calls on it also to consider further assistance in the future to contribute to the reconstruction and development of Lebanon;
“7. Affirms that all parties are responsible for ensuring that no action is taken contrary to paragraph 1 that might adversely affect the search for a long-term solution, humanitarian access to civilian populations, including safe passage for humanitarian convoys, or the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons, and calls on all parties to comply with this responsibility and to cooperate with the Security Council;
“8. Calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:
-- full respect for the Blue Line by both parties;
-- security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area;
-- full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of 27 July 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese State;
-- no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its Government;
-- no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its Government;
-- provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel’s possession;
“9. Invites the Secretary-General to support efforts to secure as soon as possible agreements in principle from the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel to the principles and elements for a long-term solution as set forth in paragraph 8, and expresses its intention to be actively involved;
“10. Requests the Secretary-General to develop, in liaison with relevant international actors and the concerned parties, proposals to implement the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), including disarmament, and for delineation of the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa farms area, and to present to the Security Council those proposals within thirty days;
“11. Decides, in order to supplement and enhance the force in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operations, to authorize an increase in the force strength of UNIFIL to a maximum of 15,000 troops, and that the force shall, in addition to carrying out its mandate under resolutions 425 and 426 (1978):
(a) Monitor the cessation of hostilities;
(b) Accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the South, including along the Blue Line, as Israel withdraws its armed forces from Lebanon as provided in paragraph 2;
(c) Coordinate its activities related to paragraph 11 (b) with the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel;
(d) Extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons;
(e) Assist the Lebanese armed forces in taking steps towards the establishment of the area as referred to in paragraph 8;
(f) Assist the Government of Lebanon, at its request, to implement paragraph 14;
“12. Acting in support of a request from the Government of Lebanon to deploy an international force to assist it to exercise its authority throughout the territory, authorizes UNIFIL to take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind, to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, and to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers and, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Lebanon, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;
“13. Requests the Secretary-General urgently to put in place measures to ensure UNIFIL is able to carry out the functions envisaged in this resolution, urges Member States to consider making appropriate contributions to UNIFIL and to respond positively to requests for assistance from the Force, and expresses its strong appreciation to those who have contributed to UNIFIL in the past;
“14. Calls upon the Government of Lebanon to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel and requests UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11 to assist the Government of Lebanon at its request;
“15. Decides further that all States shall take the necessary measures to prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft:
“(a) The sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territories; and
“(b) The provision to any entity or individual in Lebanon of any technical training or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items listed in subparagraph (a) above;
except that these prohibitions shall not apply to arms, related material, training or assistance authorized by the Government of Lebanon or by UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11;
“16. Decides to extend the mandate of UNIFIL until 31 August 2007, and expresses its intention to consider in a later resolution further enhancements to the mandate and other steps to contribute to the implementation of a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution;
“17. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council within one week on the implementation of this resolution and subsequently on a regular basis;
“18. Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973 and 1515 (2003) of 18 November 2003;
“19. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
The Security Council met this evening to consider the situation in the Middle East.
Statement by Secretary-General
KOFI ANNAN, United Nations Secretary-General, welcomed the resolution ahead of the Council’s adoption, saying he was greatly relieved that it provided for a full and immediate cessation of all hostilities. “It is absolutely vital that the fighting now stop”, he said, adding: “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”, he said. He was convinced that his disappointment and sense of frustration were shared by hundreds of millions of people around the world. For weeks now, he had been calling repeatedly for an immediate cessation of hostilities, for the sake of the civilian population on both sides who had suffered such terrible, unnecessary pain and loss. All Council members must be aware that its inability to act sooner had 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 had been thrown back into the turmoil of war, death and destruction. According to the Lebanese Government, more than 1,000 Lebanese had been killed and more than 3,600 injured. Around a quarter of all Lebanon’s inhabitants –- close to 1 million people –- had been displaced. Israeli bombing had turned thousands of homes to rubble. Such devastation would be tragic at any time. That it had been inflicted on Lebanon’s people just when they were making real progress towards political reform and economic recovery made it all the more so.
For its part, the Israelis had been newly awakened to a threat, which they had hoped, with good reason, to have escaped. Some 41 Israeli civilians had died, and hundreds of thousands had had their lives disrupted -– being forced into shelters or to flee their homes -– by rocket attacks from Hizbollah, which had launched its fire indiscriminately to sow the widest possible terror. Nor had the damage been limited to Lebanon and Israel. “A region that could ill-afford another chapter of violence, and another source of instability, has inflamed further still”, the Secretary-General said.
Extremists have been given new ammunition, he said. The United Nations itself had been the target of violence and protest, despite the Organization’s humanitarian efforts, including those of valiant peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), to reach people trapped in the crossfire. He noted with pride and admiration the courage of UNIFIL staff and all other humanitarian workers. Since July, the intense fighting had injured 16 United Nations staff, and tragically caused the death of five.
“So this resolution comes none too soon, and it marks a vital step forward”, he said, adding that he was glad the Council members had been able to resolve their differences. Now, relief convoys and workers must be given a real guarantee of safe passage and access to those who needed help. The resolution had rightly had at its core Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, consistent with Council resolutions 425 (1998), 1559 (2004), and 1680 (2006). The international community must give the Lebanese Government all possible support, so that it could 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 arms flows, he said. Only when there was one authority, and one gun, would there be a chance of lasting stability. That implied, of course, a full and swift Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory. “We now have a clear scenario for achieving that”, he said.
He said that, while Lebanon’s decision to deploy 15,000 of the country's Armed Forces to the south was a significant development, ready and willing as that Army might be to undertake that task, the Government itself had acknowledged the need for help. That made 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”, he said. Obviously, if it was to carry out its new mandate, it needed to be augmented with the utmost urgency, and provided with sophisticated military capabilities.
“The Council cannot afford to relax for one minute”, he said, urging 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”. He urged the Council to make sure the forces had the equipment they needed. He also appealed to all potential donors to respond swiftly to requests from the Lebanese Government for financial help, as it struggled to reconstruct its devastated country.
He said he would lose no time in taking up the role assigned to him in the 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 would meet tomorrow, and the Israeli Cabinet, on Sunday, to review the text. Over the weekend, he would undertake to establish with both parties the exact date and time at which the cessation of hostilities would come into effect.
Lebanon had been a victim for too long, he said. Mired in an incomplete political transformation since the end of the civil war, it had remained an arena in which both domestic and regional actors could play out their self-interested schemes. Such exploitation of a vulnerable country was shameful and had undermined the laudable effort of many Lebanese citizens to consolidate their country as a sovereign, independent and democratic State. The country and its people deserved better. They deserved the full support of the United Nations, in their effort to cast off the chains of external interference and domestic strife.
Doing so would 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.
He said that the last five weeks had reminded the world 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 was now undergoing changes, shifts and 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 were the changes in perception that had been occurring, both inside the region and beyond it.
The resolution was only one step towards the comprehensive approach that was needed. Other steps would need to be taken –- many others, he said. 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, he declared.
In particular, he urged the world community not turn its back on the bloodshed, suffering and hardship that continued to afflict Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, or the danger from Qassam rockets that continued 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. The various crises in the region, therefore, must now be addressed, not in isolation or bilaterally, but as part of a holistic and comprehensive effort, sanctioned and championed by the Security Council, to bring peace and stability to the region as a whole.
“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”, he said.
Speaking before the vote, CONDOLEEZA RICE, Secretary of State of the United States, said the democratic leaders of both Lebanon and Israel worked tirelessly on behalf of their people, with the wider international community, to achieve the result of the Council’s efforts. With the adoption of the resolution, the international community had opened a path that would lead to lasting peace between both Lebanon and Israel. The United States had long called for a ceasefire, but one that was durable and sustainable. The resolution would allow a new, stronger Lebanon to emerge, with the world’s help. “Now the hard work begins”, she said, noting that the text set several key elements, including full cessation of hostilities and the unconditional release of prisoners. The United States also believed that all parties should take actions to protect civilians and expected both Governments to take steps to end all violence.
She was pleased that the resolution set out the way forward for UNIFIL. Though it bore the same name, it was not the same force. It would be enhanced and have an expanded mandate, better equipment and a sevenfold increase over its current number of peacekeepers. The renewed Force would deploy into the south of the country to ensure that no armed groups such as Hizbollah would move into the area. The resolution also set out the blueprint for Israel’s withdrawal, and it made clear that this would be a parallel process. She also stressed that the text called on the international community to impose an arms ban on all weapons entering the country and she called specifically on Iran and Syria to respect the sovereignty of the Lebanese Government in that regard. Hizbollah also had a choice to make in the wake of the resolution’s adoption. The text provided for no weapons, no armed forces and no authority held or operating in the country other that of the Government of Lebanon.
The international community must ensure the resolution bolstered the shared drive for a just and lasting peace in the region, including Israel’s right to live in peace and security. But today in no way marked the end of the international community’s common efforts. “In many respects the hard work is just beginning”, she said, stressing that no one could expect an immediate end to all acts of violence. Trust between the parties must be nurtured over time with the goodwill of both the Governments and the sustained commitment of the international community. So, going forward, the focus should first be the return of displaced Lebanese citizens and, at the same time, jump-starting efforts to rebuild the country.
The United States would continue to work with the Governments of Israel and Lebanon to rebuild Lebanon and provide humanitarian relief. Indeed, she said, her country had already committed resources to the humanitarian effort and in the coming days would do more. Today, it had increased its initial assistance package to $50 million. Through common efforts, the international community must help the people of Lebanon become more prosperous than ever before. She said that the past month had been one of heartache, suffering and loss for both Lebanon and Israel.
The resolution made it clear that the hostilities began when Hizbollah crossed an international boundary and captured and killed Israeli soldiers and began indiscriminately firing rockets into Israel. Hizbollah had dragged the people of Lebanon into a war that had nothing to do with them. But it was now time to end the violence and exploitation of the people of the Middle East. The time had come to transform tragedy into opportunity and to change old patterns of violence. The international community must see this through, she said, in order to ensure that all the people of the Middle East achieved the peace they deserved.
PHILLIPE DOUSTE-BLAZY, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, said that, by putting forward the present resolution, the international community was shouldering its responsibilities to put an end to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of displaced people on both sides of the border, and to an economic and humanitarian situation that had grown more tragic by the day. For its part, France, being linked to Lebanon by deep historical and cultural ties, and similarly linked to other countries of the region, had called for two requirements to be respected: that of allowing Lebanon’s sovereignty to be restored; and of reaffirming Israel’s right to security.
He said that the Lebanese Government’s announcement of its intention to deploy its Army in South Lebanon, with the help of UNIFIL, was a “historic turning point for the country”. It was one of the decisive elements that had made the current result possible. Indeed, the decision was a response to a recurring request on the part of the international community, and it was the world’s duty to respect it.
The main objective was to immediately begin a process involving the deployment of the Lebanese Army, concurrently with the gradual, progressive withdrawal of the Israeli Army south of the Blue Line, he said. It also appeared essential to initiate a process to resolve the question of the delineation of the border, including the Shebaa Farms question, which was at the heart of the conflict. For the first time, a process was being initiated under the auspices of the Secretary-General to deal with that issue.
He specified that the mandate given to UNIFIL by the Council was not a mandate to impose peace. Rather, UNIFIL would assist the Lebanese Government in deploying its Army, providing humanitarian aid and helping displaced people return home. It would also be charged with monitoring the cessation of hostilities and observing the parties’ respect for the permanent ceasefire and the Blue Line. As such, France called on all the parties to strictly respect United Nations personnel, materials and premises -- their security must be assured in all circumstances. Already represented within UNIFIL, France would examine, with its European partners, the possibility of providing additional support for that force.
SHEIKH HAMAD BIN JASSIM BIN JABR AL-THANI, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, said that, while his country’s position had always been in support of a resolution providing for an immediate ceasefire, it did not mean his Government was satisfied with the adoption of a resolution “that lacked balance and overlooked the accumulated, complicated historical, social and geopolitical factors that gave rise to the current situation in the region”. The current resolution failed to take adequately into consideration the interests of Lebanon, he said.
For instance, he said, the resolution did not address clearly and explicitly the horrors and destruction caused by the Israeli aggression against the innocent civilians and Lebanese infrastructure, and did not clearly indicate Israel’s legal and humanitarian responsibility for the destruction. Nor did it deal in a balanced manner with the question of Lebanese prisoners and detainees, and abducted persons, in Israeli prisons. Nevertheless, Qatar had accepted the resolution in its present form, so that the bloodshed of innocents was stopped.
He said it was in his understanding that the resolution would compel both parties to halt hostilities, and that any breaches would be dealt with according to “The April Understanding of 1996”. Also, the resolution would lead to the reopening of Lebanese ports and airports, and the return of displaced persons to their homes. He welcomed the fact that the resolution had confined itself to augmenting UNIFIL, and that its mandate would continue to be in the context of Chapter VI of the Charter. Also, he welcomed the fact that any reference to the international forces in the text, as assured by the draft’s sponsors, referred to UNIFIL.
Finally, he singled out paragraph 18 of the text, which emphasized the need for achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Failure to deal effectively and objectively with root causes of the conflict had led to a great deal of turbulence and tension in the region, which had manifested itself in the events unfolding in Lebanon and Palestine. Indeed, continued aggression against Gaza and its inhabitants was still being experienced. The Council of the League of Arab States had unanimously adopted a decision to resubmit the question of the Arab-Israeli conflict to the Council after it was realized that the peace process, in its present form, had failed. As such, an official request for convening a high-level meeting of the Security Council next September would be submitted.
DORA BAKOYANNIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, said that history had proved time and again that neither victories in the battlefield nor blind violence against innocent civilians would ever solve the problems of the Middle East. Those problems needed political solutions, channelled through diplomatic means, in a spirit of compromise, mutual respect and acceptance. The adopted resolution offered the basis for a political solution and a framework, with concrete goals, and specific benchmarks and timeframes.
She said that full respect for Lebanon’s sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity was the first and foremost of those benchmarks. Council resolutions 425 (1978), 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006) must be fully implemented. It was imperative for the Lebanese Government to take effective and immediate control of the Lebanese territory in its entirety, through the withdrawal of the Israeli military forces and the deployment of the Lebanese Army. It was also imperative to proceed with the delineation of the international borders, including the Shebaa Farms. Israel’s legitimate security concerns also needed to be properly addressed. While the right to self-defence must be preserved, Israel must respect its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law.
The resolution was a first, but important, step towards a lasting and sustainable peace, she said. It must be ensured that the text be fully implemented. Now that the end of hostilities was in sight, her country, together with the rest of the international community, stood ready to help in the enormous efforts needed to reconstruct a shattered Lebanon and help with the immediate return of refugees. She called upon the parties to set aside their fears and disappointments and, difficult as it might be, take the necessary commitment and effort to overcome the current crisis and build a better future for their people.
At the same time, he said, no one should forget the plight of the Palestinian people. As long as the Palestinian issue remained unresolved, there would be no peace in the region. The necessary conditions must be created for a genuine relaunching of a peace process, aimed at the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all relevant Council resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference and the principle of “land for peace”.
MARGARET BECKETT, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that the objectives of the resolution just adopted had been clear: to bring about a full cessation of hostilities; to create a space for urgent humanitarian efforts; and to begin a process leading to a permanent ceasefire and a durable peace.
She said that last point was crucial and spoke to why it had taken long and intensive deliberations to arrive at this evening’s decision. The Council had needed to hammer out a text that looked to the long term and took into account the views of all concerned, particularly the Governments of both Israel and Lebanon. It had taken some time, but the United Kingdom believed it was the right decision. The text was a comprehensive one that required actions on both sides. With its adoption, there could be no going back to the way things had been.
The immediate concern was to alleviate the humanitarian situation on the ground, she said, adding that, hopefully, the immediate cessation of hostilities would allow space for United Nations and other humanitarian organizations to deploy into the region as soon as possible. The United Kingdom had a humanitarian team already on the ground, and it had increased its aid package to some £6.5 million.
She said that the heart of the agreement was Israeli Security and Lebanese sovereignty. There could not be one without the other; for too long, Lebanon had suffered from conflict and instability. The international community must also acknowledge that the people of Israel could no longer live under the shadow of indiscriminate rocket attacks and other violence. Indeed, after today, Hizbollah faced an historic choice, whether to continue on a path of violence and destruction or to pursue a path of political dialogue, which was itself the path to peace. And, Hizbollah’s backers, namely Syria and Iran, must also look at their positions: would they choose to work with, or against, those who sought peace and stability in the Middle East. Here, she could not help but mention the recent comments of the President of Iran. Such comments were wholly unacceptable in themselves, and had the capacity to promote further violence.
The international community must also not lose sight of the situation in Gaza, where the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people was a cause for continued concern, she said. Real peace throughout the Middle East could only come on the basis of a lasting and comprehensive settlement. The international community’s priority must be to promote the Quartet-backed “Road Map”. Tony Blair had today announced that he would visit the region shortly, namely the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Lebanon. The United Kingdom would do all it could to help bring about a lasting peace in Lebanon and the wider Middle East.
PER STIG MØLLER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, said that several parties were responsible for the conflict. “Hizbollah was the main cause. We have also called on Syria and Iran to act responsibly, and we have called on Israel to show utmost restraint, avoid disproportionate action and warned against destroying Lebanon in their fight against Hizbollah”, he added.
He said that the world must not return to the status quo ante; as long as armed forces outside the control of the Government operated in and around Lebanon, instability would prevail. Denmark stood firmly behind Prime Minister Siniora of Lebanon to meet the challenge of safeguarding a stable and democratic future for that country, and to avoid strengthening extremism in the region. Indeed, one of the main objectives of the resolution was to ensure the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of Lebanon in line with resolution 1559 (2004).
His country welcomed the decision to deploy 15,000 Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon and supported the enhancement of UNIFIL, he said. It was also imperative that United Nations humanitarian organizations and other relief organizations be guaranteed safety and unhindered access. Denmark had contributed to those efforts and the United Nation’s humanitarian appeal, and it stood ready to extend further assistance.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said his country had repeatedly called on all parties in the conflict to practice utmost restraint since 12 July -- the day the conflict broke out -- and condemned excessive use of force and attacks against civilians, civilian facilities and United Nations personnel. In the course of consultations on the present resolution, China had repeatedly emphasized that the text reflect the concerns of all parties, especially those of Lebanon and Arab countries. He believed the resolution on the table embodied important elements, having absorbed the seven-point proposal of the Lebanese Government, such as calling for the full cessation of hostilities and upon the Lebanese Government to deploy its Armed Forces, together with UNIFIL, as the Israeli Army withdrew behind the Blue Line.
He said that the resolution also laid out detailed provisions for UNIFIL’s new mandate, which would contribute to forming a good foundation for future efforts to achieve long-term political solutions to the Lebanon-Israel issue. He had voted in favour of the resolution, having taken note that Lebanon, Israel and Arab countries hold no objections to it.
Nevertheless, the text was the first step. Concerned parties were faced with more arduous tasks, such as reaching consensus on a comprehensive, lasting and fair framework for the political settlement of the conflict. At the same time, the international community should intensify their humanitarian relief efforts, while not forgetting the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people. Hopefully, the Middle East peace process would be revitalized, through joint efforts of Israel and Arab countries, on the basis of United Nations resolutions and the principle of “land for peace”.
PETER BURIAN ( Slovakia) said that, as a co-sponsor of the resolution, he supported its adoption. The text provided an important basis for the cessation of hostilities and the start of a comprehensive settlement of the Lebanese crisis. It was also a first step in fully and urgently addressing the causes that had led to the current situation.
He said that there was no military solution to the Lebanese crisis or to the Middle East conflict in general. A lasting solution could only be reached through peaceful negotiations and full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions. The territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon could best be achieved by implementation of the resolutions calling for the Government to assume full control over all its territory. That meant taking the appropriate measures against illegal movements of arms and people through Lebanon’s borders and illegal attacks against the territory of neighbouring States. The international community should assist the Lebanese Government to achieve that goal. The strength and mandate of UNIFIL should be expeditiously enhanced to cope with the tasks. The international community should also immediately address the extremely difficult humanitarian situation of the thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons and assist their return home.
The resolution could not substitute for agreement by parties on the basic principles for a long-term and lasting solution, he said. All parties should extend their full cooperation in achieving a sustainable and lasting solution to the Lebanese crisis.
VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that, for almost a whole month, hundreds of thousands of people in the region had been subject to peril. During the same time, much damage had been done to Lebanese infrastructure and the personnel of UNIFIL, too, faced casualties, inflicting wounds to both regional and international memory that would require a long time to heal. Throughout the crisis, the Russian Federation had always insisted on immediate ceasefire.
He then remarked on the familiarity of the chain of events that struck the Middle East, as well as the familiar lack of a comprehensive settlement following those events. Until decisive action was taken to resolve the region’s fundamental problems, the world would doubtlessly face a similar outbreak of hostilities in the future. To avoid such a recurrence, all aspects of the situation must be dealt with without exception, and must be done on the basis of Security Council resolutions.
He said the present resolution had taken an unjustifiably long time to complete, with Russia doing everything it could to accelerate the process. In fact, in an attempt to speed up the process, Russia had proposed a draft resolution for a humanitarian ceasefire in Lebanon. However, in view of the fact that it was possible to produce the present text, Russia had decided to lend its wholehearted support to it. This was especially true since the resolution included Russia’s demand for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and was able to accommodate both Lebanon’s other interests, as well as Israel’s security interests.
CEASAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) said his country had voted in favour of the draft and had stressed the need to bring an immediate end to the violence and an immediate beginning to broad humanitarian efforts on the ground. Still, Argentina, which continued to be concerned with the fate of civilians on both sides, regretted that it had taken the Council a full month to act. He stressed the need to adhere to the principles of proportionality and differentiation, and reiterated Argentina’s condemnation of all violent acts committed against civilians. He hoped that with a cessation of hostilities, the focus would now quickly shift to alleviating the humanitarian situation on the ground.
He stressed that this was not the end of the road but the beginning, and that additional efforts would be needed to ensure peace and stability, starting with a strong call from the Council for the implementation of all previous resolutions on the situation in Lebanon and the Middle East. Here, he stressed the need for the Council to continue to monitor the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Indeed, the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the wider occupied territories was part of the overall problem. The related crises fed off of each other. It was Argentina’s hope, therefore, that, in the coming days, the Council would act to alleviate the suffering there.
KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan) said the fighting had caused heart-rending bloodshed and the destruction of infrastructure on both sides. Hostilities were still ongoing, which meant that the number of casualties continued to increase every day. Such fighting only threatened the region’s stability.
He said the package of solutions -- a baby of political compromise, born of arduous exchange -- could not satisfy all parties 100 per cent. Nevertheless, it provided a viable framework for the avoidance of further destruction, long called for by the international community. But a sustainable solution to the conflicts besetting the region could only be reached if it was backed-up by political will and support from the international community. Indeed, a complete implementation of the points in the resolution was vital, and the Governments of Lebanon and Israel were called on to realize an immediate ceasefire, and to exercise the utmost restraint, as they carried out their efforts to restore calm and stability in the region.
He said Japan was concerned by the dire humanitarian situation, particularly in Lebanon. There was a need to address the problem of internally displaced people and of refugees, as well as the rehabilitation of the country at the earliest possible time. He paid tribute to all humanitarian relief workers, UNIFIL observers and troops for their perseverance. While all due attention and speed was required to deal with the issue of Lebanon, members of the Council must not forget the problem of Palestine and the increasingly dire plight of the Palestinian people.
TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) said stopping further humanitarian casualties had always been an objective. Indeed, it was still the Council’s primary objective tonight, in addition to a second objective: to achieve a political solution. Meanwhile, any expectation that military action would bring about a political solution could only engender grave humanitarian consequences and render it harder to promote a political solution.
He said he was relieved that it had been possible to complete the draft of the present resolution, and subsequently to vote for it, since it had always been Tanzania’s view that the crisis need not escalate further. The Government of Lebanon was to be commended for its seven-point plan, augmented by an offer to deploy 15,000 troops in southern Lebanon to control its territory in collaboration with UNIFIL. The Government of Israel was also to be commended for giving the proposal due consideration.
For its part, the international community had an important supportive role in the resolution’s implementation, he said, praising potential troop-contributing countries for their actions so far and urging them to act with urgency. He also appealed for assistance towards the return and resettlement of displaced persons, and the reconstruction of Lebanon.
Mr. PEREYRA ( Peru) said he hoped that the resolution just adopted would mark the beginning of the end of the violence, which had wreaked so much havoc on both sides. The cessation of hostilities should also allow the humanitarian relief effort to begin without delay. He called for the speedy strengthening of UNIFIL, so that the Lebanese Government could deploy its authority throughout the country.
NANA AFUKO-ADDO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ghana, whose delegation holds the Security Council presidency for the month, said it was an honour to preside over a meeting at which the Council had adopted a text on Lebanon, which the world had been awaiting. The anxiety that had gripped the world since the outbreak of the conflict and led some to accuse the Council of inaction could now be laid to rest. He hoped that today would mark a true beginning, not only for the people of Lebanon and Israel, but for the entire region.
He welcomed the presence of the many high political officials that had been present for the vote and stressed that their participation underscored the fact that no other body could surpass the Security Council in the force of its moral authority and sheer diplomatic clout, when it acted in unity, and remained faithful to its responsibilities. “We expect nothing less when we come to grapple with the fundamental question of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the long-standing Middle East question”, he said. Clearly, the solution was within the Council’s grasp. Now, all delegations must resolve to work together in a spirit of compromise, to bring a speedy end to the pain and suffering of the peoples of that troubled region.
He echoed the wish of others that the adoption of the resolution would lead to an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon, and begin to bring prompt relief to the 1 million displaced people in dire need of humanitarian assistance. The passage of the resolution should also be seen as an important step in the search for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Towards that goal, Ghana intended to work closely with the Council members to implement the two-State solution. Indeed, in that quest, the international community, and especially the Council, should leave no stone unturned.
TAREK MITRI, Minister of Culture and Special Envoy of the Government of Lebanon, said that, while Israel claimed the war was against Hizbollah and not Lebanon, their strategy of terror was, in fact, inflicted on all Lebanese. The “indiscriminate murder” of more than 1,100 Lebanese civilians, a third of them children; the massacres and “cleansing” of villages; the destruction of infrastructure and economy was “nothing short of criminal”. In addition, one quarter of the population had been displaced, with many desperately low of fuel, food and medical supplies. Homes, hospitals, factories and warehouses had been demolished.
He said the direct cause of the thousands of deaths and injuries were the “obscenely disproportionate and unjustifiable” Israeli retaliation. There had been many cases documented by human rights organizations revealing a systematic failure by the Israeli army to distinguish between combatants and civilians. In many cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target and strikes on rescuers suggested that Israel’s forces deliberately targeted civilians. Even today, a convoy of evacuated civilians escorted by the Red Cross had been targeted, killing 4 and injuring 16.
He added that Lebanon had offered a seven-point plan developed through a process of national consensus that received unanimous approval of the Lebanese Council of Ministers, and political and religious leaders, and received support from the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conferences and the Non-Aligned Movement. But, a ceasefire that retained for one side the right “not to cease firing” was not a ceasefire, and for that, Lebanon had urgently requested a ceasefire that had the possibility of being implemented, so that all hostilities should immediately cease, and do so for good.
The persistent invasions of Lebanon demonstrated Israel’s continuing belief that military actions would remedy the causes of the region’s crises, he continued. A political resolution rooted in international law was needed, rather than a solution based on the use of force, and the seven-point plan was an example of such a solution. Indeed, the people and Government of Lebanon were deeply appreciative of the international effort to bring to an immediate end the “ravaging of Lebanon”. The Council’s acknowledgement of the Shebaa Farms problem was also appreciated and, hopefully, steps would be taken by both the Council and the Secretary-General to resolve the issue, thereby removing of the conflict’s underlying causes.
Further, he said, the Lebanese were not confident in the Israeli distinction between “defensive” and “offensive”. The end of military operations should be unqualified, and the lifting of the blockade should be immediate upon cessation of hostilities so that humanitarian aid was no longer prevented from reaching people in need. As for the deployment of Lebanese Armed Forces in southern Lebanon as the sole military force in the area, to be assisted by the United Nations forces, he called for troop-contributing countries to act swiftly on the strengthening and enhancement of UNIFIL.
He said Israel would realize that the peoples of the Middle East could not be cowed into submission. The 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut had called for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace based on the principle of land for peace, which was the way forward. However, a political solution could not be implemented as long as Israel continued to occupy Arab land in Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and the Syrian Golan Heights. For the Lebanese people and, indeed, the world at large, the stakes could not be higher, and the Lebanese Council of Ministers would convene urgently tomorrow to consider the resolution.
DAN GILLERMAN ( Israel) said that, but for the alertness of the British security authorities, the world could have been sitting in the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity greater even than “9/11”. “The world would have mourned, but in the streets of Tehran, Damascus, Gaza and parts of Lebanon, there would be rejoicing, just as there was on 9/11”, he said, adding that though the plan was foiled, the threat -- and genocidal ideology that inspired it -- remained. For the past month, Israel had been confronting that same fanatical terrorism, which was quick to cross continents. Hostage-taking, suicide bombers and hijackings knew no boundaries, as many States around the table, among them Argentina, United Kingdom, Greece, Japan, Qatar, Russian Federation and the United States, knew only too well.
He said that whether the world would succeed in defeating that threat depended on the resolve demonstrated today. The way to avoid the crisis between Israel and Lebanon had been clear: implementation of the unconditional obligations set out in resolutions 1559 and 1680, which had set out issues for resolutions between Syria and Lebanon. The clear path forward was by disarming and disbanding Hizbollah and other militias, as well as by Lebanon’s exercise of authority over all its territory. But the will to implement such actions had been lacking, leading the people of Israel and Lebanon to pay a heavy price.
He said the failure to ensure the implementation of those resolutions meant Israel had no choice but to do what Lebanon had failed to. As a result, Hizbollah’s lethal capability had been dealt a major blow; bases had been dismantled; and stockpiles of Iranian missiles had been destroyed, showing terrorists and their sponsors that campaigns of terrorism would meet with the forceful response they deserved. However, Israel was ready to respond to calls from the Council, and to give the Lebanese Government another chance to create a new reality on the ground.
He went on to say that the resolution adopted today would establish a binding arms embargo requiring all States to prevent the supply of arms and weapons to militias and terrorists in Lebanon. It provided for a radically different international force with a mandate and capability to use all necessary means to create a new situation in Lebanon, in which the borders would be secure. Hizbollah would not rearm, and Lebanese armed forces would deploy throughout Lebanese territory including along the Blue Line. However, the resolution would do nothing unless the tools provided in it were used with resolve and decisiveness.
The stakes for the region were high, he said, as the last few weeks had given a “chilling glimpse” at what the region could be like if Iran were to succeed in achieving its goal of adding weapons of mass destruction to its arsenal. But the resolutions adopted by the Council today and last week had sent Iran a clear message: it could not develop weapons to threaten the region on its own territory, and it could not fight proxy wars on the territory of others.
He said there was no quarrel with the Lebanese people, and that Israel wished to live next to a peaceful Lebanon that was able to exercise its independence and sovereign responsibility like any other State. The people of Lebanon had a choice: to develop agriculture and make deserts bloom, or to turn towns into bases of terror and barren lands. They had a choice between working to advance medicine to bring health to body and limb, or to manufacture weapons of destruction for tearing limb from limb. It was a choice between those who invested in industry and trade, and those whose only export was terror.