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Security Council on Standby for Lebanon Text

Security Council on Standby to Meet If Lebanon Text is Presented – President

New York, Aug 4 2006 8:00PM

The United Nations Security Council could convene a meeting at any time – including this weekend – if the text of a resolution on Lebanon is presented by diplomats now discussing the matter with the parties, the president of the 15-member body said today.

“If it happens tomorrow we will meet. Even on Sunday we will meet. That’s the decision that we’ve taken,” Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng of Ghana told reporters following closed-door consultations.

Since the conflict broke out in mid-July, the Security Council has adopted a resolution temporarily extending the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) through August, as well as two presidential statements on the violence.

Asked about a general feeling in the general public that the Council has not done enough to stop the bloodshed, the President urged patience.

“We have tried our best as members of the Security Council to get action taken on the issue but there are certain realities that one has to contend with and because of those realities we have to be pragmatic and we have to be realistic and look at the option which will enable us come to a quick decision on this issue, and I think that is what we have been doing,” he said.

He said the Council was giving the parties as much leeway as possible. “You also recognize that even for the Americans and the French who are taking the lead on this issue, they have to talk to the parties to the conflict, the Lebanese and the Israelis before they can agree on a package. So this is why there is so much delay in taking any concrete step with respect to a solution,” he said.

He also voiced concern on the part of the Council members about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Lebanon. “The situation is getting worse, more lives are being lost, and they are having difficulty providing material assistance to those in need,” he said. “When the bridges and infrastructure are destroyed it is not easy to provide food and water and help to those who need help. So that is the difficulty that we have.”

Asked about his personal feelings on the matter, he acknowledged a sense of frustration and disappointment. “I wish that the Council could have acted faster but I also understand the difficulties and the realities on the ground,” he said.

“But I think that sooner rather than later we will get something concrete in terms of a resolution that will enable us to tackle the issue, bring the hostilities to an end and find a long-lasting solution to the crisis in the Middle East.”

ENDS

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