UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stressed that the Lebanon cease-fire UN Security Council Resolution 1701 has to be implemented in full.
He has made it clear that the resolution does not call for stationing international peacekeeping forces on the Syrian border, unless that is requested by the Lebanese government.
He has also appealed for Israel to lift its continuing air and sea blockade of Lebanon.
‘It’s not a buffet,’ Annan said on Monday. ‘It’s not an a la carte menu where you choose and pick. We have to implement 1701 in its entirety and I hope that all parties will pay attention and act in that spirit.
‘Without the full implementation of resolution 1701, I fear the risk is great for renewal of hostilities.’
At a joint press conference in Beirut on Monday, Annan described a meeting with Lebanese parliamentary Speaker Nabih Birri as ‘very good’.
Annan continued: ‘We discussed the issue of the war and post-war phase, in addition to implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
‘He confirmed to me that the Lebanese government and people are determined to earnestly implement this resolution since the Israelis will do the same thing.
‘During the war, we worked together in order to offer help to the people who need it.
‘We are currently concerned about the reconstruction and development phase, in addition to the full implementation of the resolution as I have already indicated.
‘I assured Speaker Birri that the United Nations and the international community will work to ensure that the resolution would be fully implemented and that we need lasting and long-standing peace in this region.
‘Today, we have a chance to reach a long-term cease-fire and lasting peace.
‘We all have to work together, and this is the aim of my visit here.
‘I held good discussions with the prime minister and Parliament Speaker Mr Birri. I will continue these discussions.
‘I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to those who lost their wives and husbands.
‘I would like to call on the international community to show its solidarity with you as this was evident in Brussels on Friday (25 August) when the EU offered more than 7,000 soldiers who will be dispatched to Lebanon to guarantee establishing lasting peace.’
Nabih Birri told journalists: ‘In the name of Lebanon, I would like to welcome his excellence the UN secretary-general, who announced positions in the interest of Lebanon, the people of Lebanon, and peace in Lebanon and this region before beginning his visit to Lebanon.
‘As he kindly said, we held a very useful round of talks and we focused on the issue of the continued siege, and hence the violation of Resolution 1701 with regard to Beirut Airport and other Lebanese facilities.
‘Moreover, we also reviewed all the violations of Resolution 1701.
‘Since the first day, Lebanon exerted all its efforts to respect and implement this resolution.
‘We did not forget to improve the situation in order to discuss the issue of improving the Lebanese-Syrian relations with the aim of arriving at the sought goals more and more.’
‘Welcome again and thank you very much. There is no need for more questions.’
Meanwhile, Hasan Fadlallah, a member of the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies for Hezbollah, in Beirut commented on Annan’s visit to the southern suburb of Beirut.
Fadlallah said that Hezbollah welcomes any world figure who comes to inspect the area which was exposed to the Israeli ‘aggression’.
Asked by a journalist about Annan’s meeting with Hezbollah Minister Muhammad Funaysh, Fadlallah said: ‘The talks dealt with Resolution 1701.
‘We frankly discussed with him the Israeli violations and the need for the United Nations to play its role in full, at least to force Israel to respect a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council.
‘We know that there are constant violations by the Israeli side.’
Responding to a question on whether Annan linked the handing over of the Israeli captives to the Red Cross to the lifting the Israeli siege on Lebanon, Fadlallah said: ‘I do not think that there is any connection between the two issues.
‘The issue of prisoners is governed by a specific and clear mechanism and channels.
‘Mr Annan was frankly told that there are channels that can be used to tackle this matter and that the issue can be addressed by means of indirect negotiations through which prisoners can be exchanged.’
Meanwhile on Sunday, the deputy secretary-general of Hezbollah, Shaykh Na’im Qasim reiterated rejection of any US trusteeship on Lebanon.
After meeting a delegation of the Islamic Party in Malaysia, Qasim said: We once again reiterate that we reject any US trusteeship on Lebanon.
‘We also refuse to have Lebanon as a crossing for their Middle East.
‘Lebanon will continue to be a minaret of freedom and a minaret for expressing opinions for all its denominations.
‘Therefore, Lebanon will not accept to be but sovereign and independent in the real sense, which stems from its power and the power of its resistance.
‘We see today how Israel violates Resolution 1701 and launches daily attacks, and yet, we do not hear any firm or decisive stands from the Security Council or the super powers.
‘Nevertheless, we as a party decided to exercise self-restraint at this stage to uncover more Israeli and US misdeeds and the collusion that is taking place.
‘We place all this before the international community and hold it fully responsible.
‘Everybody should know that our party’s patience and Lebanon’s patience come from a position of strength.’
Also on Sunday, Lebanese Prime Minister Fu’ad Siniora received a telephone call from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the afternoon.
During the phone call, Rice informed Siniora that she was making serious and intensive efforts to lift the blockade on Beirut Airport as soon as possible, hoping that her efforts would achieve such results.
The US secretary stressed the need for the Lebanese authorities to control Lebanese airports and ports.
For his part, Prime Minister Siniora said that the Lebanese state was forging ahead with its plan to control borders and all Lebanese border outlets.
On Sunday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, spoke with UN Secretary-General Annan, who telephoned in order to update Olmert on the dispatch of the international force led by France and Italy.
Annan said that the force would deploy in about a week and added that he has appealed to other countries to join it.
Olmert said that the most important thing from Israel’s point-of-view is the immediate release of the abducted soldiers.
He added that according to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, the Lebanese government is responsible for the fate of the soldiers.
Olmert said that Israel ascribes great importance to the deployment of the international force on the Syrian-Lebanese border and at the air and maritime entry points into Lebanon.
Israeli radio said the two men agreed to discuss matters further at their Wednesday meeting in Jerusalem.