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Cablegate: Lebanon: Unsc Agrees That Presidential Elections

VZCZCXRO0854
OO RUEHBZ RUEHROV
DE RUCNDT #0971/01 3112208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 072208Z NOV 07
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2988
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 USUN NEW YORK 000971

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER KPKO SY LE IS
SUBJECT: LEBANON: UNSC AGREES THAT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
MUST TAKE PLACE BY NOV 24

REF: STATE 151231

1. (SBU) Summary. During a private meeting of the Security
Council November 5, UNSC Resolution 1559 Special Envoy Terje
Roed-Larsen reported that the political crisis that had
"paralyzed" Lebanon since November 2006 had made it very
difficult to achieve further progress towards the
implementation of resolution 1559. He decried reports of
militia re-armament in Lebanon, which had led to "tangible
fears" of a new civil war, and called for a Lebanese-led
political process to disarm all Lebanese and non-Lebanese
militias -- including Hizballah. Larsen noted that several
member states in the region had corroborated GOL charges of
illegal arms transfers across the Syrian-Lebanese border, and
called on Iran and Syria to comply with all relevant UNSC
resolutions. Turning to Lebanon's upcoming presidential
elections, he emphasized that a new President must be elected
by November 24, 2007, and that alternate scenarios involving
two rival governments or a vacuum in the presidency are not
acceptable. In terms of other steps to fully implement
resolution 1559, Larsen listed the establishment of
diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon, the
delineation of borders between the two countries, and an end
to Israeli overflights. In response to member state
interventions, he reviewed the history of the Sheba'a Farms
area and agreed that the upcoming Annapolis meeting should be
"as comprehensive as possible."

2. (SBU) Summary, cont'd. Although UNSC members repeated
familiar positions about the role of Syria in Lebanon, nearly
all said that presidential elections must take place by the
constitutionally-mandated date of November 24, 2007. The P-3
urged the Lebanese to work towards selecting a candidate who
enjoys the "broadest possible support." Amb Khalilzad noted
that Lebanon had elected several presidents with less than
two-thirds support and urged the international community to
refrain from advocating a specific electoral outcome. Russia
cautioned against "pitting one Lebanese faction against
another" and complained that the UN had "singled out Syria"
in its reports and focused "too much attention on Hizballah"
at the expense of other re-armament by other militias. South
Africa delivered a vitriolic anti-Israeli intervention in
which it claimed that the "source of tension between Syria
and Lebanon is the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine,
the Golan Heights, and the Sheba'a Farms." Arguing that all
conflicts in the Middle East are interconnected, Russia and
Italy emphasized that the Annapolis meeting should be both
inclusive and comprehensive. After the consultations, the
Indonesian PermRep read out a press statement on behalf of
the Council that recalled the need to hold free and fair
presidential election in Lebanon in conformity with the
country's constitution and without any foreign interference
or influence. End Summary.

Larsen Offers Bleak Outlook
---------------------------

3. (SBU) Reviewing events in Lebanon since his last report to
the Council six months ago in April 2007, Larsen argued the
political crisis that had "paralyzed" the country since
November 2006 had made it very difficult to achieve further
progress towards the implementation of resolution 1559. The
"most disconcerting" reports of the past several months, he
said, pertained to the re-arming of militias. These reports
had led to "tangible fears" of a new civil war and had caused
the SYG to renew his call for a Lebanese-led political
process to address the issue of disarmament. In this
context, Larsen noted that the SYG had received "new
information" that Hizballah had re-armed beyond its July 2006
capabilities, which he said lent "particular importance" to
reports of breaches of the arms embargo. Recalling that
Lebanon and Syria had traded accusations about support for
militant groups in Lebanon, Larsen nonetheless noted that
several member states in the region had corroborated reports
of illegal arms transfers from Syria into Lebanon, and urged
all regional parties to cooperate with the GOL and the UNSC
on this issue.

4. (SBU) Turning to Lebanon's upcoming presidential
elections, Larsen emphasized that a new President must be
elected by the constitutionally- mandated date of November
24, 2007. Neither the prospect of two rival governments --
the 1988-90 manifestation of which he described as the "most
unfortunate political development" in Lebanon's recent
history -- or a vacuum in the Presidency were acceptable.
Asked how the Security Council could help encourage a
solution to Lebanon's political impasse, Larsen suggested
that the Council impress upon all key players the need to
avoid either of two aforementioned scenarios. Noting that
the first and second attempts to convene Parliament had

USUN NEW Y 00000971 002 OF 003


failed, Larsen reported that Lebanese political leaders
continue to meet to try to agree on a compromise candidate,
whom the SYG had said should enjoy the "broadest possible
support." As far as the UN is concerned, he said, the UNSCR
1559 call for free and fair presidential elections held in
accordance with Lebanon's constitution and without any
foreign interference or influence must be upheld.

5. (SBU) Besides disarmament and presidential elections,
Larsen described the establishment of diplomatic relations
between Syria and Lebanon, the delineation of borders between
the two countries, and an end to Israeli overflights of
Lebanon as remaining steps to fully implement resolution
1559. In response to comments by South Africa about the
"illegal Israeli occupation of the Sheba'a Farms," Larsen
reminded Council members that by endorsing the Blue Line in
2000, the Council had effectively decided that the Sheba'a
area does not come under Lebanese sovereignty. Although
Lebanon had expressed reservations about the Blue Line in
2000, it had agreed to respect the line in its entirety
pending border delineation with Syria, and the UNSC should
ensure this commitment endures. Although the SYG presented
new cartographic information about Sheba'a in his report on
UNSCR 1701, which contains "conclusions" about its location
and territorial definition, Larsen emphasized that this new
information does not change the fact that this issue can
resolved permanently only after Syria and Lebanon delineate
their border. In response to member state interventions,
Larsen agreed that many conflicts in the Middle East are now
interconnected, and therefore suggested that the upcoming
Annapolis meeting should be "as comprehensive as possible."

P-3 Coordinate Positions on Elections
-------------------------------------

6. (SBU) The U.S., France, and the UK sounded similar notes
on the upcoming Lebanese presidential elections. (Note: USUN
reinforced reftel demarche on the USG position on the
elections with the French and UK Missions before the UNSC
session. End Note.) All three delegations emphasized that
the elections must take place by November 24 and that all
other scenarios are unacceptable. The P-3 also urged the
Lebanese to work towards selecting a candidate who enjoys the
"broadest possible support." Amb Khalilzad, noting that
several presidents in Lebanon's history had been elected with
less than two-thirds support, also underscored that the
international community should refrain from advocating a
specific electoral outcome. French DPR LaCroix reported that
French FM Kouchner had engaged his Syrian and Iranian
counterparts to remind them that Lebanon's elections must be
allowed to take place without foreign interference. He also
reported that French President Sarkozy's Diplomatic Advisor
and Chief of Staff had traveled to Damascus on November 4-5
to deliver the same message directly to Syrian President Asad.

7. (SBU) Besides the presidential elections, Amb Khalilzad
highlighted several other aspects of resolution 1559 that
must still be implemented. The French and British
representatives, while briefly mentioning "troubling" charges
of Syrian interference relayed by PM Siniora, focused mostly
on the presidential elections. Decrying the overall
atmosphere of intimidation and politically-motivated violence
that has characterized Lebanon's political crisis, Amb
Khalilzad noted charges that Syria had supported Fatah
al-Islam in an effort to topple the GOL, and called on Syria
to abide by all relevant UNSC resolutions. He highlighted
illegal arms transfers across the Syrian-Lebanese border,
called on Hizballah to disarm, and supported the SYG's
expectation that Syria and Iran would cooperate in this
process. Amb Khalilzad also urged Syria to finally establish
diplomatic relations with Lebanon and to honor President
Asad's commitment to the SYG to begin the process of border
delineation.

Others Push for Dialogue and Consensus
--------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Although nearly every delegation agreed that
elections should take place by November 24, Russia and Qatar
led several countries in emphasizing that the presidential
election should be resolved on the basis of national dialogue
and reconciliation. In a relatively mild statement, Qatar
urged the UNSC to support "all Lebanese parties" in their
push for national harmony. Russia emphasized that "any"
foreign interference could only exacerbate the situation and
cautioned the international community against "pitting one
Lebanese faction against another." Neither Russia nor Qatar,
however, explicitly urged the Lebanese to agree on a
"consensus" candidate. China agreed there should be no
vacancy in the office of the Presidency and expressed hope

USUN NEW Y 00000971 003 OF 003


for a "consensus" president. Italian PR Spatafora opined at
length (and seemingly extemporaneously) on the history of the
Lebanese confict and the need for a "compromise" candidate to
resolve the current political impasse. South Africa warned
the UNSC to approach the situation in Lebanon with "extreme
caution" and to "refrain from taking sides in the conflict."

And Question Focus on Hizballah and Syria
-----------------------------------------

9. (SBU) Several delegations also criticized Israel for its
overflights and questioned the Secretariat's handling of
accusations against Syria and Hizballah. Although Russia at
first welcomed the UNSCR 1559 report as "objective," PermRep
Churkin added that the resolution should be fully implemented
"without any tendentious interpretations," and maintained
that the UN should "not single out Syria" for criticism since
charges were also levelled against other states in the
report. Russia also complained that focusing "too much
attention on Hizballah" with "scant attention" paid to
re-armament by other militias "was not appropriate." South
Africa delivered a vitriolic anti-Israeli intervention,
claiming that the "source of tension between Syria and
Lebanon is the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, the
Golan Heights, and the Sheba'a Farms." South Africa added
that any allegation of illegal arms transfers requires
accompanying proof, in the absence of which UN references to
such charges "are not helpful." Of note, Qatar said that it
was "dismayed" by reports of arms trafficking, and "refused"
any violation of Security Council resolutions. Russia,
Qatar, and South Africa all argued that establishment of
diplomatic relations and delineation of borders are bilateral
issues between Syria and Lebanon and should be resolved
through dialogue.

Annapolis Should Be Comprehensive, Inclusive
---------------------------------------------

10. (SBU) Arguing that the solution to Lebanon's woes lies in
"bringing in the regional players without recrimination,"
Russia expressed hope that the upcoming Annapolis meeting
would "resolve all outstanding Arab-Israeli issues."
Although Italian PR Spatafora did not explicitly say that the
Annapolis meeting should be comprehensive and inclusive, he
asked Larsen several different ways whether the problems of
Lebanon and the rest of the region were interconnected and
had to be tackled at the same time. Spatafora also wondered
whether the Security Council could do anything to encourage
"compromise" in Lebanon and among its regional neighbors. In
response to Spatafora's questions, Larsen expressed his view
that the Annapolis meeting "should be as comprehensive as
possible."

Council Adopts Press Statement
------------------------------

11. (SBU) After the consultations, the Indonesian PermRep
read the following statement to the press on behalf of the
Council:

-- Members of the Security Council have had a briefing from
Mr. Roed-Larsen, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on
the implementation of resolution 1559, and welcomed the sixth
semi-annual report on the implementation of resolution 1559
(2004).

-- Members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong
support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, unity,
and political independence of Lebanon within its
internationally recognized borders and under the sole and
exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon.

-- They recalled the need to hold free and fair presidential
elections in conformity with the Lebanese constitution and
without any foreign interference and influence.

-- They reaffirmed the need for all parties to resolve all
political issues on the basis of reconciliation and national
dialogue.

-- Members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong
support to the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy in
their efforts to facilitate and assist the implementation of
resolution 1559 (2004).
Khalilzad

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