July 18th, 2006 06:20 EST
U.N. Ambassador John Bolton advises caution on proposed
United Nations -- While waiting for the results of a special U.N. peace mission to the Middle East, the Security Council July 17 began discussing ways it could contribute to a sustainable and lasting solution in the region.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, after a closed door council meeting, said that the real solution to the crisis lies in the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, passed by the council in September 2004. The resolution calls for "the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias."
If the militias were disbanded, Bolton said, "not only would Israel not be subject to terrorist attacks such as rockets and kidnappings by Hizballah, but the people of Lebanon wouldn`t be subject to the reign of terror that Hizballah inflicts as well."
The "sad fact" of the situation is that "until terrorism is eliminated in the form of Hizballah in Lebanon and the Palestinian armed militia Hamas and the Occupied Territories; until everyone renounces terrorism these problems are going to continue," the ambassador said.
Bolton and the Security Council president, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere of France, agreed that the implementation of Resolution 1559 is the key and noted that leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) nations " who just completed a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia -- and other members of the 15-nation council would be working to find ways to implement the resolution more effectively. The G8 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia.
"Having Lebanese authority extending the whole territory is key," de La Sabliere said." "Ending violence on the blue line is key." Being sure the civilian population is not attacked is key."
For the United States, Bolton said, that means other aspects of the situation must be addressed as well, such as the disentanglement of Syria from Lebanon, Syria`s full cooperation with the U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri (known as the Brammertz investigation) and the cutting off of financial assistance to terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hizballah by Syria and Iran. (See related article.)
U.N. MISSION TO LEBANON
The Security Council was briefed by U.N. Under Secretary for Political Affairs General Ibrahim Gambari.
Gambari said that U.N. mission headed by Vijay Nambiar left Lebanon after meeting with Prime Minister Faud Siniora with "some specifics" to discuss with Israel.
"The situation is Lebanon has sharply deteriorated over the weekend [July 15-16] to the point where we are now in the situation of an open war," the U.N. official told journalists after meeting with the council." "The consequences are serious and the impact is devastating not only on Lebanon and Israel but on the entire Middle East."
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan intends to work with the Security Council on "a package of actions that are practical and requires the parties to release their abductees, stop the rocket launchings and attacks, and Israel end its military action," Annan said."" He also suggested a "stabilization force" be considered by the council.
Bolton said that any deployment of any new force for the region would have to be weighed carefully.
One consideration for the council, the U.S. ambassador said, is "how can we assist the people and the government of Lebanon to take full control over their territory."
"The Lebanese armed forces unfortunately have not been able to exercise full control over their territory; first, because of the presence of Syrian troops, now the continued presence of Syrian intelligence services, and because of the presence of armed militia groups -- both Lebanese and non-Lebanese -- that are funded by Syria, Iran and other outsiders," Bolton said.
It would be a mistake for the council to "avoid the work that could be done to strengthen the Lebanese armed forces and other security forces consistent with [Resolution] 1559," he said." "There may be many ways of providing assistance to the Lebanese armed forces." There may be kinds of international forces that could be considered along the lines of the multinational force in the Sinai, rather than a U.N. peacekeeping force."
The Security Council hopes to have the results of the U.N. mission by midweek in order to evaluate possible short-term measures as it considers how to deal with the larger problem.
Council President de La Sabliere said that in the course of three private meetings the council has had over the past few days "there is a willingness" . . . to work on the sustainable and lasting solution."
At the U.S. State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack confirmed that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would visit the Middle East. He did not set a date, but said it would be after the U.N. team returns to New York. "She does want to have a sense from the U.N. mission what it is that they`re hearing, what it is that they have accomplished."
"Her goal in traveling to the region would be to try to further the diplomacy that would lay the groundwork for a lasting cessation of violence," he said, adding, "We want to see a cessation of violence in such a way that the world doesn`t end up back in the same position in which we find ourselves right now."
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)