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Rice:Statement on 3-Part Comprehensive Settlement

Statement on Three-Part Comprehensive Settlement

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
July 31, 2006

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. Over the course of the past eight days, I have participated in a series of intense meetings and discussions with leaders in Israel and Lebanon -- as well as leaders from throughout the world gathered in Rome and Malaysia -- to try to find common ground and bring an end to the violence that has claimed so many lives.

This morning, as I head back to Washington, I take with me an emerging consensus on what is necessary for both an urgent cease-fire and a lasting settlement. I am convinced we can achieve both this week -- and I am convinced that only by achieving both will the Lebanese people finally be able to control their country and their future, and the people of Israel finally be able to live free from the threat of attack from terrorist groups in Lebanon.

Based on what we have accomplished, and the urgency of the situation, we will call for the United Nations Security Council action this week on a comprehensive settlement that includes three parts: a cease fire, the political principles that provide for a long-term settlement, and the authorization of an international force to support the Lebanese army in keeping the peace. We are working simultaneously on all three tracks so that a cease-fire can be supported by the deployment of an international stabilization force as soon as possible after Security Council action.

During my discussions, I found consensus on several important issues that, taken together will address the causes of this conflict and form the political basis for a truly lasting settlement -- and one that will prevent a return to the status quo ante.

Lebanon, Israel, and the international community agree that the government of Lebanon must be able to extend its authority over all its territory. To help achieve this, Lebanon, Israel and the international community agree that an international Stabilization Force should be deployed. There is broad agreement that armed groups must be prohibited in the areas where the international force is deployed; an international embargo must be enforced against the delivery of weapons to anyone other than the government of Lebanon or the Stabilization Force; no foreign forces will be allowed unless specifically authorized by the government of Lebanon, and Lebanon should, as assisted where appropriate by the international community, disarm armed groups.

During this proposed settlement, Israel and Lebanon would also agree to respect the Blue Line that divides them.

I also found substantial consensus on the role of an international stabilization force: This force would support urgent humanitarian work and enable the return of internally displaced persons; assist the Lebanese Armed Forces to deploy to the Blue Line and police the border with Syria; help create a stable and secure environment, especially in southern Lebanon, so that UN Security Council resolution 1559 and the Taif accords can be implemented.

In our view, to implement a cease-fire, the Lebanese armed forces should deploy to the Blue Line border between Lebanon and Israel, and the Stabilization Force should always operate in coordination and support of Lebanon's armed forces.

I believe our work has prepared the way for the United Nations Security Council to act on both an urgent and comprehensive basis this week.

I have been deeply grieved by the tragic losses we have witnessed, especially the deaths of children, Lebanese and Israeli. Too many families have been displaced. Too many people urgently need medical care, or are living in shelters.

I welcome Israel's decision to suspend aerial attacks for 48 hours as it investigates what happened at Qana. We also obtained agreement on a 24-hour period of safe passage to help innocent civilians who want to escape southern Lebanon. I hope this can be renewed. I hope that this will improve the humanitarian situation and allow much faster and more significant delivery of desperately needed aid. These are important, yet temporary measures. An urgent and more permanent end to this violence is something that we all want, and that we must work together to achieve. To make a cease-fire more than words alone, the international community must be prepared to support and sustain it -- and I call on my international partners to do so this week in New York.

Thank you very much.


Released on July 31, 2006


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