Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
A. Situation in the UNIFIL area of operations
31. On numerous occasions, UNIFIL encountered civilians armed with hunting rifles in the area of operations, despite the Government ban on hunting and the carrying of weapons inside the area. The Lebanese Armed Forces took action against alleged hunters, although some managed to flee, and continued to remind the local population of the general ban on hunting, as well as the ban on the carrying of weapons inside the area. In addition, armed persons and weapons are present inside the Palestinian refugee camps in the area.
C. Disarming armed groups
41. As discussed in my latest report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), no progress has been made with regard to addressing the presence of Palestinian military bases operated by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Fatah al-Intifada in Lebanon, all but one of which are located along the Lebanese-Syrian border outside the official Palestinian refugee camps administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The presence of those military bases continues to compromise Lebanese sovereignty and governmental authority. It also poses a challenge to the effective control of the eastern border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.
42. The security situation in the UNRWA-administered Palestinian refugee camps remained relatively calm, with only minor incidents during the reporting period. This positive development is largely due to increased cooperation and coordination between Palestinian camp authorities and Lebanese security agencies. I remain, however, concerned about reports of threats to the United Nations posed by militant extremist groups present in Lebanon. Some of those elements have sought shelter in Palestinian refugee camps, including Ain el-Hilweh camp at Saida, to which Lebanese security agencies do not have access.
43. Mindful of the provision of paragraph 10 of resolution 1701 (2006) regarding the disarmament of armed groups, I continue to believe that this should be carried out through a Lebanese-led process that will bring the full restoration of the authority of the Government of Lebanon over all its territory, so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the Government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the Government of Lebanon. In this regard, Lebanese leaders have mandated the National Dialogue, convened by President Sleiman, to agree on a national defence strategy. The National Dialogue is also mandated to implement past agreements, some of which refer to the disarmament of Palestinian groups outside the officially recognized camps.
D. Arms embargo
48. The lack of demarcation of parts of the border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic continues to be a significant obstacle to improved border management. Other significant impediments to effective border control between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic are the presence of Palestinian military bases in locations straddling the border between the two.
67. In this connection, I call upon Lebanese leaders to make meaningful progress in their discussions on a national defence strategy at the National Dialogue convened by President Sleiman and to ensure the implementation of past dialogue decisions, including the dismantling of Palestinian military bases outside the officially recognized refugee camps. While the national defence strategy remains a central issue of the political debate in Lebanon, I regret that the prolonged political deadlock during the reporting period has not been conducive to addressing the issue. I hope that the National Dialogue will convene once a government is agreed upon and that it will make meaningful progress in its discussions in the coming period.