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Situation au Liban/Militants /camps de réfugiés - 18e rapport du Secrétaire général sur l'application de la résolution 1559 (2004) du Conseil de sécurité - Rapport (extraits)

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        Security Council
16 October 2013

Original: English

Eighteenth semi-annual report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004)

I. Background

1. The current report is my eighteenth semi-annual report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004). It reviews and assesses the process of the implementation of the resolution since my previous report on the subject was issued on 18 April 2013 (S/2013/234). It notes the continued lack of progress on key provisions of the resolution, and highlights increasing concerns threatening the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Lebanon, including challenges to efforts to uphold that country's policy of disassociation from the Syrian crisis.


II. Implementation of resolution 1559 (2004)


C. Disbanding and disarmament of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias


28. Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias within the country continue to operate outside of the control of the Government in serious violation of resolution 1559 (2004). While several groups across the political spectrum in Lebanon possess weapons outside Government control, the armed component of Hizbullah is the most significant and most heavily armed Lebanese militia in the country. The maintenance of arms by Hizbullah and other groups poses a serious challenge to the State’s ability to exercise full sovereignty and authority over its territory. In addition, a number of Palestinian armed groups continue to operate in the country inside and outside the refugee camps. Furthermore, in recent months there have been unconfirmed reports of possible infiltration or presence of extremist elements in Lebanon.


32. In the south of Lebanon, violence erupted in the city of Sidon, where, on 23 and 24 June, armed clashes occurred between supporters of a Salafist sheikh and the Lebanese Armed Forces. The armed forces responded quickly to the attack and secured the area, but not before 16 soldiers were killed and 50 others wounded. This includes at least two soldiers killed in a related attack on army checkpoints at the entrances to the Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp outside Sidon.

33. During the period under review, the security situation in the Palestinian camps remained generally stable but tense. Leaders in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon continued to work together, and with the Lebanese authorities, to maintain order against the backdrop of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic. In a visit to Lebanon on 3 July, the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stressed the need for Palestinians in Lebanon to disassociate themselves from the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic and from any internal tensions in Lebanon.

34. Humanitarian conditions for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon remained dire, and an additional 47,000 Palestinian refugees arrived in Lebanon from the Syrian Arab Republic. These additional refugees are placing tremendous pressure on the assistance efforts of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Moreover, tensions are increasing between the Palestine refugees who have been residing in Lebanon and those arriving from the Syrian Arab Republic, as the latter are deemed to be adding to the burden on the already limited resources available for Palestine refugees. The United Nations has continued to urge the Lebanese authorities to improve the conditions in which Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon. This should be done without prejudice to the eventual resolution of the Palestinian refugee question in the context of a comprehensive peace agreement in the region, and bearing in mind the detrimental effects of dismal living conditions on the wider security situation.

35. The presence of Palestinian armed groups outside the camps continues to challenge the ability of Lebanon to exercise full sovereignty over its territory. In spite of the decision taken in 2006 in the context of the National Dialogue and confirmed in subsequent sessions, no progress has been made with regard to dismantling the military bases of PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada in the country. All but one of those bases are located along the Syrian-Lebanese border. Their presence continues to undermine Lebanese sovereignty and governmental authority and makes delineation of the border more difficult. It poses a serious challenge, given the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, to the effective control of the eastern border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. I have reiterated my calls to the Lebanese authorities for the implementation of earlier decisions made in the context of the National Dialogue, specifically those related to the dismantling of PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada military bases, and to the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to cooperate with these efforts in good faith.


III. Observations


40. The urgent formation of a government is particularly critical in the context of the humanitarian crisis. Lebanon and its people deserve the highest praise for having maintained an open door to Syrians and in most cases to Palestinian refugees fleeing the violence in the Syrian Arab Republic. The number of refugees continues to rise with economic, social and security implications that require the ongoing attention of the Government. I continue to encourage the Lebanese authorities to ensure that fully empowered institutional structures are in place to carry out effective planning, delivery and coordination responsibilities. The United Nations and the Government have worked closely together on the appeal for Lebanon contained in the new regional response plan launched on 7 June. I call upon all Governments and funds to provide assistance generously and without delay in response to the revised appeal; in particular, I look to regional donors to assist where possible.


46. I remain of the firm belief that the best way to address the disarmament of militias in Lebanon, in particular Hizbullah, is through a Lebanese-led cross-party political process. To this end, it is crucial that the National Dialogue, under the leadership of President Sleiman, resume, including on the draft national defence strategy presented at the most recent session, in September 2012. I also urge all parties to respect and implement earlier decisions made in the context of the National Dialogue, specifically those related to the disarmament of non-Lebanese groups and the dismantling of PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada military bases. The Syrian crisis should not be used as an excuse to ignore these responsibilities, but rather serve as an incentive for the necessary disarming and disbanding of militias.

47. The situation of Palestinian refugees in the camps remains a source of deep concern, in particular in the light of the additional strains that the Syrian crisis has placed on the camps in Lebanon. In this context, I welcome the affirmation by President Abbas during his visit to Lebanon of the need for leaders in the Palestinian camps to maintain order against the backdrop of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic. I reiterate the need to improve conditions in the camps, including through legislation to ease employment of Palestinians. Such progress would not prejudice the eventual resolution of the Palestinian refugee question in the context of a comprehensive regional peace agreement. I reiterate my call on donors to support UNRWA and its vital work in providing services to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.


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