Monday, October 27, 2008

Barak to UNIFIL: Hezbollah arms smuggling violates UN resolution 1701

from Haaretz

Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Sunday with the commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon to protest Hezbollah's continued arms smuggling from Syria, in violation of Security Council Resolution 1701.

Barak said the Israel Defense Forces is closely monitoring the Lebanon border, and has seen Hezbollah gaining strength over the past two years, with close Syrian assistance. "The repeated violation of 1701 could lead us to upset of the delicate balance that exists in Lebanon, and it poses a substantive danger to the entire region," Barak said.

Resolution 1701 calls or a full cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah, who engaged in a month-long conflict in southern Lebanon during the summer of 2006. The resolution also calls for withdrawal of both Israeli and Hezbollah troops from southern Lebanon, to be replaced by UNIFIL peacekeeping troops. It also requires Hezbollah to disarm.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Saturday that the United States is providing light arms and brand new equipment to the Lebanese army in line with its policy of supporting the Western-backed Beirut government.

Officials in the Pentagon and State Department are weighing a Lebanese request for far more substantial weaponry, including tanks, anti-tank missiles and an air defense system to deter Israeli air force sorties in Lebanese airspace, though significant arms sales require that Congress be officially notified, the Times reported.

Israeli officials have conveyed their concerns to the Bush administration that any weapons delivered to the Lebanese army may eventually fall into the hands of the Shi'ite terrorist organization Hezbollah...

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