November 2nd, 2006 03:28 EST
Arms embargo must be enforced, U. N. Ambassador Bolton says
United Nations -- The United States continues to be concerned that Syria and Iran are trying to destabilize Lebanon's government, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton says.
Calling on Syria and Iran to abide by their obligations to respect Lebanon's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence, Bolton, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, said that both countries must respect the arms embargo established by the U.N. Security Council in August. (See related article.)
Each U.N. member state has an obligation to enforce the arms embargo established by Resolution 1701, the ambassador said October 30 during a closed Security Council meeting on Lebanon with U.N. Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen. "Syria's obligations in this regard are particularly important as it is the one country other than Israel that borders Lebanon," Bolton said.
"Lebanese civilians will only have lasting security when Hezbollah and other militias are disarmed and the democratically-elected Lebanese government fully expands its sovereignty over all of Lebanon," Bolton said, according to a text of his remarks released by the U.S. Mission.
"Contrary to what is often said, not talking about Hezbollah disarmament may actually weaken the government of Lebanon," the ambassador said.
In a written report to the Security Council, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that disarming Hezbollah is a key element in ensuring a permanent end to hostilities in the region and supporting the government’s effort to consolidate control.
"I continue to believe that disarmament must take place through a political process that will lead to the full restoration of the authority of the government of Lebanon," Annan said. “[T]he disarming and disbanding of all remaining militias must be realized in such a way that strengthens, rather than weakens the central authorities."
Annan said that talks with Syria and Iran, which maintain close relations with Hezbollah, are needed in order to disarm and disband Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.
The secretary-general also said that even though Syria has withdrawn its troops, military assets and military intelligence apparatus from Lebanon, he still receives complaints from Lebanon that "there continues to be Syrian intelligence activity in Lebanon."
In a presidential statement, the Security Council expressed regret that the disarming of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias has not happened.
U.S. EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR ELECTED LEBANESE GOVERNMENT
At the State Department November 1, spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States has “real concerns” over what is occurring in Lebanon, which resulted in a “direct” and “stark” statement from the White House earlier in the day.
“You had a recent speech by [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah I think within the past day or so demanding the Siniora government take certain steps or Nasrallah and his compatriates would see that it falls. You had President [Emile] Lahud talk about taking steps to block the formation of a criminal tribunal that would bring to justice those who might be accused of participating or being responsible for former Prime Minister [Rafiq] Hariri's death. It certainly gives the appearance of trying to obstruct justice,” McCormack said.
McCormack said the Bush administration wants to make it “absolutely clear” that “the United States stands firmly with the government of Prime Minister Siniora,” which is “the elected government of Lebanon.”
The United States will not interfere in Lebanon's domestic politics, nor does it want to see others interfere, he said, adding “the world is watching” and it will “not stand for … [a] renewal of that kind of behavior.”
The full text of the statement on Lebanon can be found at the White House Web site. A transcript of McCormack’s remarks is available on the State Department Web site. A transcript of Bolton’s remarks is available on the Web site of the United States Mission to the United Nations.
For additional information, see Lebanon Assistance.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)