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Cablegate: Unsc Consultation On Lebanon: Unscr 1559

VZCZCXYZ0026
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #4981 3022247
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 282238Z OCT 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0000
INFO RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0000
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0000

UNCLAS STATE 114981

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC LE IS
SUBJECT: UNSC CONSULTATION ON LEBANON: UNSCR 1559

1. (U) This is an action message. Please see Paragraph 3.

2. (U) Mission may draw on the talking points at paragraph 3
for the October 30 Security Council consultation on the
eighth semi-annual report of the Secretary General on the
implementation of UNSC resolution 1559 (2004).

3. (SBU) Begin Talking Points:

-- We welcome the Secretary General's most recent report on
UNSCR 1559.

-- We concur with the report's conclusion that the Lebanese
government must continue extending its control throughout the
country until it is the sole political and military
authority. In this regard, we join the Secretary General in
expressing our strong support for the National Dialogue
process initiated by President Sleiman.

-- The election of President Sleiman was a major step forward
for Lebanon. Under his leadership, the country has a great
opportunity to move beyond the factionalism and violence that
has characterized its recent history. At the same time,
however, Lebanon faces great challenges and there is a
continued, pressing need for full implementation of all
provisions of UNSC resolution 1559. Today I would like to
make four points.

-- First, the violence that erupted in Lebanon in May clearly
demonstrates the fact that there has been virtually no
progress over the past four years in implementing a core
component of resolution 1559 - the disbanding and disarming
of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, the most significant
of which is Hizballah.

-- As the Secretary General notes in his report: "The issue
of Hizballah's weapons continues to be central to the
political debate in Lebanon and to the Security Council's
resolutions on Lebanon. Hizballah's maintenance of separate
military assets and infrastructure is a fundamental challenge
to the government's attempts to
consolidate the sovereignty and authority of the Lebanese
state..."

-- This point cannot be overemphasized, because any other
progress Lebanon may make could unravel overnight if armed
groups are able to continue to operate with impunity. The
impact of these groups is profound enough that elections in
Lebanon can not be described as "free and fair"; this will
hold true as long as voters are intimidated by the threat of
violence from armed groups like Hizballah - groups that have
demonstrated a willingness to turn their arms against
Lebanese civilians.

-- The international threat is also clear. As the report
points out, "Hizballah's (para-military) structures, parallel
and distinct from those of the state, remain a threat to
regional peace and security." Additionally, the report notes
Hizballah continues to make verbal threats against Israel.

-- The United States joins the Secretary General in urging
all parties with influence on Hizballah, particularly Syria
and Iran, to support the group's transformation into a
peaceful political party, not an armed militia, consistent
with the requirements of Resolution 1559 and the Taif
agreement.

-- Second, we are concerned that the Lebanese-Syrian border
remains porous. The Secretary General's report repeats the
conclusions of the recent report of the Lebanese-Syrian
Border Assessment Team: the rate of progress for the
Lebanese government's implementation of LIBAT recommendations
has been insufficient. Improving this situation is a key
task for the Lebanese government and we call on them to
assess the need for international assistance.

-- The government of Syria also has clear responsibilities to
ensure that illegal weapons do not cross its border into
Lebanon in violation of UNSC Resolution 1701. Syria has the
capacity and the know-how to interdict weapons flows and stop
foreign fighters from entering Lebanon and must take steps to
ensure cease the flow of weapons to Hizballah and other armed
groups.

-- Third, the United States joins the Secretary General and
the rest of the international community in applauding the
recent agreement between Syria and Lebanon to establish full
diplomatic relations. We look forward to
implementation of the agreement before the end of this year.

-- That said, the texture of this new Lebanese-Syrian
political relationship - and the extent to which it
represents full Syrian respect for Lebanese sovereignty -
will only be revealed once we see how Syria's relations
with armed groups in Lebanon evolve, including whether Syria
fully abides by the arms embargo established by UNSC
Resolution 1701.

-- Finally, we fully endorse the Secretary-General's renewed
efforts to bring about a diplomatic resolution to the
Sheba'a Farms dispute, which should be addressed in
conjunction with the issue of disarmament and all
unimplemented portions of resolutions 1559 and 1701.

-- We also support UNIFIL's efforts to bring about a solution
to the continued presence of Israeli troops and civilians
north of the "blue line" in the village of Ghajar.
RICE

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