Search

 

Cablegate: Lebanon: Council Debate On Unscr 1701 Confirms

VZCZCXRO3803
OO RUEHBZ RUEHROV
DE RUCNDT #1177/01 3511644
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171644Z DEC 07
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3352
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 USUN NEW YORK 001177

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER KPKO UNSC SY IS LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: COUNCIL DEBATE ON UNSCR 1701 CONFIRMS
FAMILIAR DIVIDE

1. (SBU) Summary. During closed UNSC consultations on
December 12, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Geir Pedersen
reported that Lebanon's continuing political impasse had
prevented further progress on the implementation of
resolution 1701. He called for presidential elections to be
held as soon as possible, fretting that "another red line"
had been crossed with the assassination of LAF General
el-Hajj earlier that day and arguing the interim arrangement
is not sustainable. Pedersen welcomed the Council's emphasis
on the "whole" 1701 resolution, agreeing the Council should
not "pick and chose" among its obligations. He termed
reported illegal arms transfers across the Syrian-Lebanese
border a "serious" matter, but refrained from specifically
calling on Syria or Iran to comply with their obligations
under UNSCR 1701. He called on the new GOL to prioritize the
re-launch of a political process to address the issue of
disarmament. On Sheba'a, Pedersen said progress beyond the
SYG's provisional territorial definition would require the
sustained efforts of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, and that the
SYG intends to consult with all relevant parties on the way
forward. DPKO A/SYG Edmund Mulet emphasized that UNIFIL had
found no/no evidence of Hizballah re-armament south of the
Litani river (UNIFIL's area of operations), despite general
Israeli claims to the contrary. Pedersen clarified that the
UN did not/not hold the same view of arms transfers north of
the Litani river. Mulet reported no progress on resolving
the issue of Ghajjar and decried continuing Israeli
overflights of Lebanon. Both Mulet and Pedersen criticized
Israel for its refusal to hand over detailed strike data on
its use of cluster bombs in south Lebanon.

2. (SBU) Summary cont'd. During member state interventions,
most delegations joined Amb Khalilzad in condemning the
el-Hajj assassination and calling for elections to be held
immediately. Russia said the right response to the
assassination would be for Lebanese leaders to intensify
efforts to find a "consensus" solution to the presidential
election issue. Although European delegations joined Amb
Khalilzad in expressing concern about illegal arms transfers
into Lebanon and called on Syria and Iran to comply with
their obligations under resolution 1701, Russia and South
Africa disputed the veracity of these allegations, while
other delegations just ignored the issue. All delegations
except the U.S. specifically criticized Israel for its
continuing overflights of Lebanese territory and its refusal
to provide the SYG with detailed strike data on its use of
cluster bombs in south Lebanon. Most delegations welcomed
the provisional territorial definition of the Sheba'a Farms
presented in the SYG's report and urged the Secretariat to
continue to make progress on this issue. France and Italy
urged the SYG to help the parties reach an agreement on the
territorial definition of the area. Most delegations
supported France's intention to seek a UNSC reaction to the
SYG's report on UNSCR 1701. End Summary.

Secretariat: Political Impasse Threatens 1701

SIPDIS
---------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Decyring the assassination of el-Hajj just after the
eighth postponement of the presidential election, Pedersen
said the prolonged absence of agreement on the presidential
election is not sustainable, arguing the interim arrangement
"threatens the very foundations of the Lebanese state" and
has prevented further progress on implementation of UNSCR
1701. He said the fact that the LAF had been targeted was a
troubling development that crossed "another red line" in
Lebanon that had provoked fears of another civil war. He
described the "reported violations" of the arms embargo
across the Lebanese-Syrian border as a "serious matter." He
praised GOL efforts to implement the LIBAT recommendations to
improve border security, however. On Sheba'a, he said the
provisional definition of the area represented an "important
step forward," but maintained that further progress would
require the "concerted and sustained efforts of the Lebanese,
Syrian, and Israeli governments." The SYG "intends to
consult with all relevant parties and UNSC members on next
steps" and believes that "progress on this issue is
essential" to UNSCR 1701 implementation. On the abducted
Israeli soldiers, Pedersen said reiterated the resolution's
call for the soldiers' immediate and unconditional release
and noted that during facilitation, "solutions for most of
the Lebanese cases have been found."

4. (SBU) In his briefing, Mulet reported that UNIFIL and/or
the LAF had found old arms stockpiles in south Lebanon. But
"to date," UNIFIL "had not found evidence of Hizballah
rebuilding its weapons capability south of the Litani river."
He said UNIFIL remains ready to investigate specific
information to the contrary, but so far the IDF has only
provided information of a "generic mature," and UNIFIL and/or

USUN NEW Y 00001177 002 OF 003


the LAF have been unable to exploit this to find "concrete"
evidence to back up the allegations. Mulet also discounted
Hizballah claims that it had carried out maneuvers in south
Lebanon on November 6th. He reported no/no progress on
resolving the issue of Ghajjar and decried continuing Israeli
overflights of Lebanese territory. Both Mulet and Pedersen
criticized Israel for its refusal to provide strike data on
its use of cluster bombs in south Lebanon. Noting that 26
civilians have been killed from unexploded ordnance since the
war, Pedersen maintained that "Israel's non-responsiveness on
this issue is a cause for deep concern." Turning to
disarmament, Pedersen called on Lebanon's new government to
"exert every effort to re-initiate a political process that
eventually leads to the disarmament of all militias." He
noted that Hizballah SYG has stated that discussion of
Hizballah's weapons should take place "in the context of a
dialogue that addresses the country's national defense
strategy." Pedersen concluded his briefing by welcoming the
Council's emphasis on implementation of the "whole" 1701
resolution, rejecting a "pick and choose" approach to the
resolution's obligations.

U.S. Focus on Elections and Outside Interference
--------------------------------------------- ---

5. (SBU) Arguing that the assassination of el-Hajj was "aimed
at undermining Lebanon's sovereignty," Amb Khalilzad said the
attack underscored the need to hold presidential elections
without delay. He urged those blocking the election to cease
linking non-constitutional demands to the vote and expressed
full confidence in the GOL in managing country until a new
president takes office. Amb Khalilzad commended UNIFIL, in
particular for the checkpoints and patrols it has established
along the Litani river, and urged further progress in
trilateral talks on the issues of Ghajjar, unexploded
ordnance, and marking the Blue Line. He emphasized our deep
concern about illegal arms transfers across the
Syrian-Lebanese border and supported the SYG's call on Syria
and Iran to comply with the arms embargo.

6. (SBU) Amb Khalilzad welcomed initial progress on
implementing the LIBAT recommendations and urged further
steps. He insisted that all militias, including Hizballah,
must disarm now, and he called for the release of the
abducted Israeli soldiers. On Sheba'a, Amb Khalilzad
commended the UN cartographer for presenting a provisional
territorial definition of the area, but emphasized that a
permanent solution to the issue remains contingent on
Syrian-Lebanese border delineation. Lastly, recalling the
successful conference at Annapolis a few weeks ago, Amb
Khalilzad noted that the Council already has a roadmap to a
long-term cease-fire and permanent solution between Israel
and Lebanon -- resolution 1701 -- and urged all sides to
recommit themselves to its full implementation.

Delegates Call for Election and Dialogue
----------------------------------------

7. (SBU) After condemning the assassination of General
el-Hajj, most delegations agreed with Pedersen that the
attack underscored the need to move forward with elections
now as a means to ensure stability and security in Lebanon.
France and the UK urged elections be held "now" and
underscored that the political impasse should not hold up
implementation of resolution 1701. Noting that the el-Hajj
attack was carried out when Lebanese leaders were close to an
agreement, Russia said the right response lies in the further
"consolidation" of Lebanese politics and an election "by
consensus." China did not explicitly call for consensus but
expressed hope for a "comprehensive" solution to the
political impasse as soon as possible.

Several Contest Illegal Arms Transfers
--------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Although France, the UK, Slovakia, and Peru joined
Amb Khalilzad in expressing concern about illegal arms
transfers into Lebanon and called on Syria and Iran to comply
with their obligations under resolution 1701, other
delegations either ignored the issue or disputed the veracity
of the allegations. Russia argued that critical assessments
of Syria and Iran "were not supported by facts," and that the
UN "must only use information beyond doubt and fully
verified." The Russian DPR emphasized that the UN had found
"no specific evidence" of violations of the arms embargo in
southern Lebanon. South Africa rejected "mere assertions" of
arms transfers and chided the Secretariat for endorsing such
claims. Qatar, Indonesia, Panama, and Italy did not mention
the issue at all. China noted that the issues raised by the
SYG in his report related to the arms embargo "deserve

USUN NEW Y 00001177 003 OF 003


attention," and that the GOL should increase its border
security capacity and increase its cooperation with the
parties concerned in response.

Overflights and Cluster Bombs
Draw Near-Universal Criticism
-----------------------------

9. (SBU) All delegations except the U.S. specifically
criticized Israel for its continuing overflights of Lebanese
territory and its refusal to provide the SYG with detailed
strike data on its use of cluster bombs in south Lebanon.
Many delegations, including the UK, characterized overflights
as a "breach of resolution 1701." France said the practice
should end. Indonesia, Qatar, and South Africa argued the
damage caused to the GOL and UNIFIL by overflights could not
be overstated; the practice undermined the credibility of the
resolution. They all called on the SC to call on Israel to
end this practice. Similarly, Indonesia argued that Israel
must be "forced" to provide cluster bomb data "as soon as
possible."

SYG Should Move Forward on Sheba'a
----------------------------------

10. (SBU) Most delegations welcomed the provisional
territorial definition of the Sheba'a Farms presented in the
SYG's report and urged the Secretariat to continue to make
progress on this issue. France and Italy termed Sheba'a
"crucial to a lasting political solution" and urged the SYG
to help the parties reach an agreement on the territorial
definition of the area. The UK similarly looked forward to a
"process" that would capitalize on the area's territorial
definition. Russia expressed hope for "further
consideration" by the SYG on this issue and reminded members
that Israel, which currently occupies Sheba'a, must be part
of a settlement on the issue. Panama said the demarcation of
the Sheba'a Farms is an important part of the regional peace
process and argued the P-5 have a special responsibility to
move this issue forward. Qatar and South Africa called on
Israel to "stop its occupation" of Sheba'a to enable
Syrian-Lebanese border delineation. Most delegations
supported France's intention to seek a UNSC reaction to the
SYG's report on UNSCR 1701.
Khalilzad

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>