Skip to comments.Annan presses Lebanon on disarming Hezbollah
Posted on 10/19/2006 5:56:48 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the Lebanese authorities on Thursday to take a lesson from the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah and quickly agree on a plan for disarming Hezbollah.
Hezbollah's transformation into a purely political party "is a key element in ensuring a permanent end of hostilities and in the full restoration of Lebanon's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence," Annan said in a report to the U.N. Security Council.
"It is my deep hope that the opportunities borne from conflict will be seized upon and that Lebanon may once again rise from the ashes of destruction and war," he said.
Annan's report also renewed pleas that Lebanon and Syria establish full diplomatic relations with each other and work together to mark out their shared border.
He was reporting on progress in implementing a September 2004 council resolution that called on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and for Lebanon to disarm all militias on its territory so the Beirut government could control all its territory.
There has been "considerable progress" over the past two years in fulfilling the resolution, Annan said.
But the 34-day war that ended in an August 14 cease-fire has left Lebanon tense and facing huge challenges to rebuild itself and its shaken economy and political system, he said.
Damascus, which entered Lebanon in 1976 to put down a civil war, pulled its troops out in April 2005 after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, which triggered mass anti-Syrian demonstrations.
Many Lebanese blamed the killing on Syria but Damascus has denied any role and a U.N. investigation is continuing.
Hezbollah's armed presence in southern Lebanon is linked directly to a controversy over the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
The Lebanese remain deeply divided over its disarmament.
The guerrilla group, which also holds seats in parliament and cabinet posts, maintains it provides resistance in a strip of the Golan Heights known as the Shebaa farms.
The United Nations says Shebaa is part of Syria but Syria and Lebanon say it belongs to Lebanon. Annan has urged the two to work out a change if they wish, which they have not done.
Syria and Lebanon have not had full diplomatic ties since Western powers carved the two states out of the remnants of the Ottoman empire in 1920. Annan said he is working to expedite the matter.
A boy gives the thumbs down toward a French UN Leclerc tank on patrol in the southern Lebanese border town of Yarin. The commander of UN troops in Lebanon suggested that the rules of engagement for his forces might have to be changed to allow future use of force to stop continuing Israeli air violations of Lebanese air space.(AFP/Ramzi Haidar)
French President Jacques Chirac (R) welcomes Lebanon's parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri, son of Lebanon's slain former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris October 19, 2006. REUTERS/Charles Platiau (FRANCE)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak speaks to journalists in Tripoli in June 2006. US President George W. Bush told Mubarak that Syria is interfering in Lebanon and hurting Mideast peace prospects by backing the radical Palestinian group Hamas.(AFP/File/Mahmud Turkia)
This guy must REALLY want a Darwin Award!