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1. The present report provides a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) since my previous report of 14 November 2012 (S/2012/837)
8. The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon continued to rise sharply. As at 25 February, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that in excess of 305,000 Syrian refugees were receiving assistance in Lebanon, more than double the figure cited in my previous report and the highest number in any of the countries neighbouring the Syrian Arab Republic. In addition, some 31,500 Palestinian refugees had been displaced from the Syrian Arab Republic into Lebanon. I discussed the efforts and needs of Lebanon in tackling the challenge of refugee inflows in my meetings with the President, on 30 January in Kuwait City on the margins of the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, and with the Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on 25 January in Davos, Switzerland, on the margins of the World Economic Forum.
II. Implementation of resolution 1701 (2006)
C. Disarming armed groups
41. In the Ein el-Hillweh Palestinian refugee camp there were heightened tensions on 23 January and again on 18 and 19 February between groups respectively loyal to the regime and the opposition in the Syrian Arab Republic. The clashes were relatively limited and contained by the Palestinian security committee in the camp. Otherwise, the situation in the camps was generally quiet. On 22 January, the Government of Lebanon undertook to fund the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee for three years.
D. Arms embargo and border control
49. Palestinian refugees continued to seek shelter in camps in Lebanon after their camps in the Syrian Arab Republic came under attack. There was a large influx of Palestinians into Lebanon from 17 to 20 December, including after the intense fighting in the Palestinian-populated Yarmouk area of Damascus. As at 25 February, some 31,500 Palestinians from the Syrian Arab Republic had approached the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Lebanon, including 5,200 Palestinian refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic who recently arrived south of the Litani River. UNRWA is seeking to provide assistance in cooperation with non-governmental organizations.
65. The maintenance of arms by Hizbullah and other groups outside the control of the State continues to pose a threat to Lebanese sovereignty and stability, and stands in contradiction to the country’s obligations under resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1701 (2006). I regret the inability of the Lebanese leaders to meet within the framework of the National Dialogue during the reporting period to discuss this and other issues and encourage all concerned to heed the President’s call for the resumption of dialogue as soon as possible. I remain of the view that the goal of ensuring that there are no weapons outside the control of the State can be achieved only through a Lebanese-led political process that has this as its aim and believe that the National Dialogue remains the best mechanism to achieve it. In this context, I reiterate my call for the implementation of earlier decisions of the National Dialogue, specifically those relating to the disarmament of non-Lebanese groups and the dismantling of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Fatah al-Intifada military bases.
67. I take this opportunity to welcome the unity shown by leaders in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon in working together, and with the Lebanese authorities, to maintain order against the backdrop of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic. I also welcome the decision of the Government of Lebanon to continue to support the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee for a further three years. There is an urgent need 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 peace settlement. The influx of several thousand additional Palestinian refugees displaced from the Syrian Arab Republic into the already extremely cramped camps in Lebanon has imposed a heavy new burden on the inhabitants and on UNRWA in its efforts to assist them. I strongly urge Member States to further support the work of UNRWA in the light of the heavy additional pressures on its resources.