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Department of Public Information (DPI)
14 July 2006
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATES ESCALATING CRISIS BETWEEN ISRAEL, LEBANON;
UN OFFICIALS URGE RESTRAINT, DIPLOMACY, PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS
Lebanon ’s Ambassador Calls Israel’s Acts ‘Barbaric Aggression’;
Israel Says Actions Direct Response to Assault, Targeted Hizbollah Strongholds
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in the Middle East, as requested by Lebanon in a letter dated 13 July (document 8/2006/517) from the Permanent Mission of that country to the Council’s President. In that letter, the Mission’s Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Caroline Ziade asked the Council to consider “the grave situation resulting from the latest Israeli acts of aggression in Lebanon”.
NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (
) welcomed the Secretary-General’s decision to send a three-member delegation to ascertain what could be done to end the unfortunate turn of events. He reiterated the call for the immediate release of all kidnapped Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian parliamentarians abducted by Israel. Once unleashed, force was difficult to control, and its causalities were frequently innocent civilians, including the general deterioration in the humanitarian situation. Furthermore, mistrust grew, positions hardened and the prospects of a diplomatic solution receded, to the frustration of all. The Council was fully aware of such dangers and had repeatedly called for restraint on both sides of the Middle East peace divide. The Council had also repeatedly reminded the parties of their commitments under international law and international humanitarian law.
Noting that the Middle East crisis revolved around the Palestinian question, which boiled down to the achievement of an independent and viable State for the Palestinians, within internationally recognized boundaries, he called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and the various armed groups, and a speedy resumption of the peace negotiations, without preconditions. The Council must live up to its responsibility of maintaining international peace and security by refocusing its energies and attention on seeking a just and lasting solution to the Middle East question.
CESAR MAYORAL (
) said his delegation was gravely concerned by the current crisis in Lebanon, which, coupled with the recent incidents in Gaza, had the potential to destabilize the entire Middle East region. It was essential that all parties exercise restraint and cooperate with the high-level United Nations team that had been sent to the region by the Secretary-General. He said that Argentina condemned the launching of Qassam rockets into northern Israel, which had killed an Argentine citizen. Argentina also condemned the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. He called for the full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions. The Lebanese Government should do its utmost to exercise its control in the southern part of its country.
JOHN BOLTON (
) said that, in recent days and weeks, there had been an outbreak of violence in the Middle East, sparked by attacks and kidnappings carried out by Hamas and Hizbollah. Hizbollah’s incursions on 12 July into Israeli territory had been deliberate. He unequivocally condemned the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah, a terrorist organization, and called for their immediate and unconditional release. The situation highlighted the need for full compliance by Syria and Hizbollah with Council resolutions.
LIU ZHENGMIN (
) said his country opposed any action that would destabilize the region, and called on all parties to strictly respect the Blue Line and the relevant Council resolutions. He denounced the armed aggression of Israel against Lebanon. Israel had used disproportionate force that had destroyed civilian infrastructures and violated the sovereignty of Lebanon. He demanded that Israel stop military action and lift the blockade. He also denounced the actions of Hizbollah and called for the timely release of the abducted Israeli soldiers.
SHINICHI KITAOKA (
) said that, following the events in the Gaza Strip during the past two weeks and yesterday’s sudden escalation in Lebanon, the Middle East had seen a serious and grave deterioration. Japan feared that the actions on both sides in the Palestinian Occupied Territory and in Lebanon would have serious repercussions for international efforts to ensure peace in the wider region. And, while Japan recognized the right to self-defence, it called on Israel to refrain from targeting civilian areas and infrastructure.
Japan also called on the Lebanese Government to exercise full sovereignty over its territory, and recognized that the disbanding of Hizbollah bore directly on that exercise. Japan expected the Lebanese Government to make every effort to ensure the release for the Israeli soldiers. Japan strongly hoped that the leaders in the region would employ wisdom and judgement in bringing about an end to the current situation.
EMYR JONES PARRY (
) said he was gravely concerned by the escalation of the crisis, which posed a serious threat to Israel and Lebanon. A priority must be to calm the situation, to support the moderates on all sides and to create conditions for a diplomatic solution. Focusing on assigning fault was not helpful in that regard. He fully supported the Secretary-General’s decision to send a mission to the region. He also supported the mission of the European Union High Representative, and hoped that the two missions could coordinate closely on the ground.
He reiterated the call for the early release of Israeli soldiers and a halt of the attacks on Israeli towns. Although Israel had the right to self-defence, it must exercise restraint, conform to international law and avoid civilian casualties. The crisis underscored the need for full implementation of Council resolution 1559 (2004), including the importance for the Lebanese Government to exercise its full authority throughout its territory.
AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (
United Republic of Tanzania
) said he was alarmed by the escalating fighting along the Blue Line. He condemned the Hizbollah attacks and the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, which had been a blatant breach of Council resolutions. Israel was continuing to strike Lebanon by land, sea and air, and had imposed a blockade with devastating consequences for civilian life. On their part, Hizbollah had fired volleys of rockets, which presented a major escalation of the crisis. The situation was definitely spiralling out of control.
He urged the parties to exercise maximum restraint and stop the hostilities, to allow mediation efforts to resolve the crisis. That was urgent, he said, as a similar situation was raging in the Gaza Strip. The current security situation demonstrated, once again, the urgency for the Lebanese Government to extend its control over all its territory. There was a need for decisive international action to help Lebanon stabilize itself. The parties should be encouraged to abstain from acts that constituted a violation of international law. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon must be respected in the context of a comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem.
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