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Situation au Liban/Milices - Huitième rapport du Secrétaire général en application de la résolution 1701 (2006) (extraits)

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UNITED
NATIONS
S

        Security Council
Distr.
GENERAL
S/2008/715
18 November 2008

Original: English

Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006)


I. Introduction

1. This is the eighth report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006). It provides a comprehensive assessment of the steps taken to implement the resolution since the previous report of the Secretary-General was issued on 27 June 2008 (S/2008/425). The report also contains proposals for measures that could be undertaken by the parties to move closer to a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution between Israel and Lebanon.

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II. Implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006)

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D. Disarming armed groups

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34. As highlighted in my recent report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004) (S/2008/654), Palestinian arms inside and outside of the 12 registered refugee camps remain a serious threat to the stability and sovereignty of Lebanon. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Fatah al-Intifada continue to maintain paramilitary infrastructures on Lebanese territory, particularly along the Lebanese-Syrian border. While I am concerned at the frequency of security incidents inside the camps, I am encouraged by the increased security coordination between the Lebanese authorities and the Palestinian factions, as well as by efforts undertaken by the Palestine Liberation Organization, aimed at regaining control of security inside the camps. In this context, I welcome the initiatives between the Government of Lebanon and relevant Palestinian authorities to take joint responsibility for security inside the Nahr al-Bared camp, which is to be reconstructed and which is designed to serve as a model for the remaining 11 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

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43. As indicated in my recent report on the implementation of resolution 1559 (2004), the presence of heavily armed positions belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Fatah al-Intifada on the border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic continues to represent a worrisome anomaly. Given these challenges, I welcome the commitment made by Presidents Suleiman and Assad to undertake joint activities aimed at improving security arrangements along the border between their two countries. I have continued to encourage both Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic to translate this commitment into tangible action as soon as possible.

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G. Abducted soldiers and prisoners

50. In its resolution 1701 (2006), the Security Council emphasized “the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers” (Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev). In addition, it encouraged “efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel”. The Lebanese prisoners included Samir Quntar and Nassim Nisr, as well as five Hizbullah combatants captured by Israeli forces during the 2006 conflict. Both sides were also known to hold the remains of combatants killed in action during the conflict.

51. A facilitator was appointed in September 2006 to conduct negotiations on behalf of the Secretary-General. Negotiations started immediately thereafter, prefaced by exploratory contacts. Hizbullah demanded the release of all Lebanese prisoners held in Israel, as well as moves on behalf of Palestinian and Arab detainees. For its part, Israel insisted on the framework of resolution 1701 (2006) and proof that the two soldiers were alive, before any further discussions.

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58. In a statement on the same day, I expressed satisfaction for the successful implementation of the exchange while expressing my condolences to the bereaved families. I also expressed the hope that further positive moves would take place as a result of that exchange. On 6 August, five Palestinian prisoners were freed by Israel in a move directly related to the agreement with Hizbullah. On the same day, Prime Minister Olmert announced that a large number of Palestinian prisoners would be released later in the month in a move designed to support the Annapolis peace process. On 25 August, a total of 198 Palestinian detainees were released by Israel.

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V. Observations

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84. I commend the Government of Lebanon for its commitment to improving the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in and outside the camp areas, as reaffirmed in its recent ministerial statement, without prejudice to the settlement of the Palestinian refugee question in the context of an eventual Arab-Israeli peace agreement. Many donor countries have responded generously to the appeals issued by the Government of Lebanon and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp and adjacent affected Lebanese communities. However, more funds need to be secured if this enormous project is to be a success.

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