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Cablegate: Tfle01: Unsyg Personal Representative Pederson

VZCZCXRO2339
PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHLB #2415/01 1991643
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 181643Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4691
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0851
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIRUT 002415

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/SINGH/HARDING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/18/2016
TAGS: IR IS KPKO LE MOPS PTER
SUBJECT: TFLE01: UNSYG PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE PEDERSON
SAYS NOW IS TIME FOR A POLITICAL SOLUTION

REF: BEIRUT 2403

Classified By: Ambassador Jeffrey D. Feltman. Reason: Section 1.4 (d).

SUMMARY
--------

1. (C) In a July 18 meeting with the Ambassador and
econoff, UNSYG Personal Representative to Lebanon Geir
Pederson shared a new draft of the UN proposal to end the
fighting (reftel). This document (which has many elements
that spell its doom in its current form) is transcribed below
in para 3. Pederson said that most of the debate of the plan
will be worked out in New York. Regarding Hizballah's
strategy to date, Pederson thought that either Hizballah knew
the consequences of abducting Israeli soldiers but was
ordered to do so by Iran, or, alternatively, Hizballah did
not understand it was crossing a red line. Pederson leaned
to the latter, saying that he spoke to a Hizballah official
on July 12, who did not seem to expect a harsh Israeli
response. Pederson favored a political way out of the
fighting, saying that Israel cannot destroy Hizballah's
military wing without occupying all of Lebanon. He believed
Hizballah would be open to a UN deal, even if it meant
withdrawing from southern Lebanon. Finally, Pederson
reported that Israeli artillery and airstrikes had flattened
a swath of land on the Lebanese side of the Blue Line. End
summary.

THE NEW DRAFT UN PROPOSAL
-------------------------

2. (C/NF) On July 18, the Ambassador and econoff met with
UNSYG Personal Representative to Lebanon Geir Pederson and UN
Senior Political Affairs Officer Salman Shaikh at the UN
House. Pederson said that the draft UN proposal had changed
somewhat since he last saw the Ambassador late on July 16
(reftel). He provided econoff with a copy of the new
proposal, which is transcribed below in para 3.

3. (C/NF) Begin text:

"Non-Paper Rev 3 - 17-7/06 BEI 13:00

The following is a rough draft of ideas that could be
discussed with the parties by the UN team. The paper will be
an internal reference document, and has to be developed and
reshaped during the course of the mission.

Element one: Setting the stage

First Step
a) The UN calls on Hezbollah to transfer the Israeli
abducted soldiers to the Government of Lebanon. They would
be kept in custody, within the country, under the stewardship
of PM Siniora. The Red Cross is allowed to visit them.
b) The transfer of the captives to the GOL and a lull of
hostilities will immediately take effect to permit
negotiations.

Second Step
An understanding, as a package deal, between Lebanon and
Israel is made through intermediaries based on the following
elements:

a) A cease-fire takes effect.
b) The Israeli soldiers are transferred to Israel and the
three remaining Lebanese detainees in Israel are released.
c) A buffer zone from the Blue Line to the North of some 20
km is created.
d) UNIFIL is reconfigured to adapt to the new reality on the
ground.
e) The LAF deploys in the buffer zone pursuant to resolution
425, 426, and 1559. The force deployed should be manned and
equipped sufficiently to maintain calm along the Blue Line.
f) Israel withdraws all its military assets from Lebanese
territory and fully respects Lebanon's sovereignty.
g) The PM of Lebanon sends a Letter to the Secretary-General
and the Security Council stating that the GOL, in spite of
its reservations, will respect the Blue Line in its entirety
until agreements on Lebanon's final international boundaries
are made.
h) A donor organization is established with immediate effect
in order secure financing and urgent aid, reconstruction and
development package for Lebanon.

BEIRUT 00002415 002 OF 003

i) A mechanism is established composed of key regional and
international actors in order to monitor and guarantee the
implementation of all aspects of the agreement.

Element two: The Security Council

1. A Security Council resolution would be adopted to help
define the contours of a deal. Such a resolution would
contain the following elements:
i. condemns all violations of the Blue Line
ii. calls for an immediate and safe return of kidnapped
soldiers
iii. deplores the lack of progress on implementing SCR1559,
especially in relation to the extension of the government
control in the South and the disarmament of all militias
iv. Condemns the targeting of civilian infrastructure and
other civilian targets
v. Deplores the loss of life of civilians, and reminds the
parties of their obligations under IHL
vi. Deplores the disproportionate/excessive use of force by
Israel
vii. Call for an immediate cessation of military operations
and all use of force and a full implementation of 1559
viii. Remind the neighboring countries of their obligation
not to interfere in Lebanese affairs etc

Follow up: implementation of 1559

1. GOL, assisted by an Arab Troika (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and
the League of Arab States), will organize an international
conference bringing together all Lebanese political factions
as well as representatives of the Palestinians in Lebanon in
order to agree on a clear timetable for the implementation of
the Taif Agreement and further measures needed for Lebanon to
comply with its international obligations (SCR 1559). The
conference endorses a delineation of Lebanon's international
boundaries, including a final resolution to the Sheba'a
farmlands issue.
2. The conclusions of this Conference will be ratified by
the Lebanese Parliament, sanctioned by the Arab League and
endorsed by the Security Council.
3. Israel moves back into the armistice agreement of 1949,
including its participation in the armistice committee."

End text.

OVER THE HORIZON
----------------

4. (C/NF) Pederson said that most of the revisions and
debate on the document in para 3 will be done in New York.
Whatever is decided will need UN Security Council support.
Pederson then mused about the potential impact of continued
hostilities. If Israel continues its military operations,
"we'll all lose" but the Shia will be united. Sure, Speaker
of Parliament Nabih Berri wants to get rid of Hizballah, but
the less than nuanced approached of the Israeli war machine
will likely start producing counter-productive results.

HIZBALLAH'S STRATEGY
--------------------

5 (C/NF) Pederson described Hizballah's strategy to date as
a mystery. He presented two theories. One, Hizballah knew
full well the consequences of abducting Israeli soldiers, but
was ordered by Iran to do so. Two, Hizballah did not
understand it was crossing a red line. Pederson leaned
toward the latter, noting that he talked with an unnamed
Hizballah official on July 12 after the abduction. The
Hizballah official was extremely proud. Pederson told him
that Hizballah has just started a war, but the official did
not seem to understand this point. Pederson reviewed the
timeline of escalation and noted that Hizballah took each
step (save for the initial abduction operation) only after
Israel raised the level of escalation. He expected Hizballah
to try and hold back its most "ugly" weapons because
Hizballah does not want to be seen as taking the final step
on the ladder of escalation.

A POLITICAL WAY
---------------

6. (C/NF) Pederson said he did not know how much damage
Israel has inflicted on Hizballah's military wing but
estimated that Hizballah still retained significant

BEIRUT 00002415 003 OF 003

capabilities. Even if the damage has been great, Hizballah
still retains its arms and rocket reserves. The only way
Israel can destroyHizballah's military wing is to occupy the
whole of Lebanon. Since that would have unacceptable costs,
the only way out for Israel now is a political solution, in
Pederson's opinion. If the war drags on, radicalism will
likely increase in the Shia community in Lebanon and the
region.

7. (C/NF) Pederson suggested that Hizballah is now open to
some kind of a cease-fire agreement. The Ambassador said
that many people argue that a cease-fire now, while
Hizballah's strategic capabilities appear largely intact,
would simply mean a weaker Siniora government, given the
extensive destruction to Lebanon's infrastructure, and thus a
relatively stronger Hizballah. Pedersen agreed that
Hizballah should not be able to claim victory with a
cease-fire, but, brandishing an Israeli Ha'aretz newspaper
report, noted that Israel claims to have destroyed 25 percent
of Hizballah's capabilities. What cost, Pedersen asked, will
Lebanon have to pay for Israel's destruction of another 25 or
50 percent of Hizballah's capability? "What will be left of
Siniora?" he asked. "What will be left of Lebanon?"

8. (C/NF) In Pedersen's assessment, Hizballah needs to show
that it is not an Iranian proxy leading Lebanon to ruin.
Thus, Pederson did not rule out that Hizballah would agree to
withdraw from southern Lebanon as a part of a Lebanese
solution to the crisis. Then a national dialogue and a Taif
II could follow. Hizballah, Pederson continued, is closely
watching the efforts of the UN team now in Jerusalem. They
are hopeful it will work, but if the UN plan is not treated
seriously, it could trigger further escalation.

UNIFIL REPORT: ISRAEL
CLEARING OUT BORDER ZONE
------------------------

9. (C/NF) Pederson then shared a report from UNIFIL
commander Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrini. Pellegrini reported
that the IDF has essentially flattened a swath of land
adjacent to the Blue Line on the Lebanese side that runs the
length of the Blue Line. The area just north of the Blue
Line is as flat as a "football field." Israeli artillery and
airstrikes have destroyed all buildings and infrastructure in
this swath of land, according to Pederson. Even UNIFIL has
positions that are now completely cut-off from serviceable
roads.
FELTMAN

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