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1. The present report provides a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) since the last report of the Secretary-General, of 28 February 2012 (S/2012/124), as well as the follow-up to the strategic review of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
II. Implementation of resolution 1701 (2006)
C. Disarming armed groups
39. There has been no progress on the dismantling of military bases maintained by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and Fatah al-Intifada outside the control of the Lebanese State. All but one of these bases are located along the Lebanese-Syrian border, compromising Lebanese sovereignty and governmental authority and impeding the ability of the State to effectively monitor and control the land border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. I have repeatedly called on the Lebanese authorities to dismantle the PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada military bases and on the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to cooperate with such efforts. During the month of May, the head of PFLP-GC, Ahmad Jibril, visited Lebanon for the first time since 2006 and met with a number of political leaders, particularly from the March 8 coalition. Mr. Jibril asserted that his group would not give up its arms and that the disarmament of Palestinian factions outside refugee camps in Lebanon would be conceivable only once the Arab-Israeli conflict were settled and the rights of the Palestinian people assured.
40. The situation in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon also remains of concern. The Lebanese authorities continue to deem cooperation with security authorities in the camps to be satisfactory. However, in March an alleged ringleader of a network suspected of planning attacks against the Lebanese Armed Forces took refuge in the Ain al-Hilweh camp. There are conflicting reports as to his current whereabouts. On 17 May, the Lebanese Armed Forces arrested the driver of a vehicle suspected of carrying weaponry out of the Ain al-Hilweh camp. On 15 June, tensions increased in the Nahr al-Bared camp after the Lebanese Armed Forces arrested two young Palestinians who refused to present their identity papers at a checkpoint. Residents subsequently attacked the army post with stones, during which one Palestinian was killed. In the ensuing clashes in Nahr al-Bared and Ain al-Hilweh on 18 June, two people were killed. In addition, a substantial number of camp residents and Lebanese Armed Forces personnel were injured. The incidents sparked demonstrations in other camps in Lebanon. The incidents highlighted the specific need to address access issues there while continuing to respect broader security concerns.
42. Against the background of rising tension and uncertainty in the country, new momentum was generated for the resumption of the National Dialogue in Lebanon, as called for by the United Nations. With the encouragement of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, among others, President Sleiman convened a meeting of the National Dialogue on 11 June with an agenda covering defence strategy, including specifically questions relating to the use of Hizbullah’s arms; Palestinian arms held in or outside the camps; and arms in and around city centres. In relation to the first category, such use was specified as being in defence of Lebanon. The meeting took place on 11 June, following which the participants issued a declaration recording their agreement on 17 points, including commitment to the promotion of calm on the security, political and media levels; avoidance of violence and recourse to arms; support for the Lebanese Armed Forces; making Lebanon neutral with respect to regional and international conflicts and the avoidance of the negative impact of regional crises, except in matters where there is an Arab or international consensus or relating to the Palestinian cause; and commitment to international resolutions and specifically resolution 1701 (2006). The parties agreed to meet again on 25 June to discuss the specific agenda items proposed by President Sleiman.
65. Progress in implementing previous decisions of the National Dialogue, particularly those related to the disarmament of non-Lebanese groups and the dismantling of the PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada military bases, is long overdue. In this context, I also remain conscious of the need to make further progress to improve the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, without prejudice to the resolution of the refugee question in the context of a comprehensive regional peace agreement. The situation in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon requires that the fundamental issues of dignity, service provision and prospects for employment be addressed. I appeal to Member States to reinforce their support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, its regular programmes aimed at delivering basic education and health care to the refugees, and the reconstruction of the Nahr al-Bared camp. I also note the need to strengthen the work of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee.
75. Resolution 1701 (2006) continues to represent a cornerstone of relative calm and stability in an area that for too many years has been characterized by conflict and volatility. At the same time, the full implementation of the resolution and full respect of the territorial integrity, the sovereignty and the political independence of Lebanon will also remain contingent upon efforts to address other causes of instability in the region. This concerns both the continued crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic and the enduring absence of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region. I therefore call on Israel, Lebanon and all other relevant parties to redouble their efforts to work towards not only the full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), but also that of all other Security Council resolutions furthering the cause of peace and stability in the region.