US pushes for resolution on Syrian acts in Lebanon
UNITED NATIONS - The United States wants a new U.N. Security Council
resolution on what it calls continued Syrian interference in Lebanon and
Iran's backing of guerrillas there, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said on
Bolton said the council should react to a
recent report from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which urged a
delineation of borders between the two countries, disarming the Iranian
and Syrian-backed Hizbollah militia in the south, and establishing
formal diplomatic ties.
The report, prepared by U.N. envoy Terje
Roed-Larsen, is a response to Security Council resolution 1559 of
September 2004 that called for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and for
Beirut to disarm militia so it could control the entire country.
"We think a resolution would be
appropriate at this point," Bolton told reporters. "I think highlighting
the areas of deficiency in Syria's performance ... would be important to
show the Council's continuing resolve."
But China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya,
this month's council president, was cautious, saying, "The region is
already complicated, we don't want to make it more complicated. We are
not so enthusiastic about more resolutions."
And Syria, in a letter, said Annan's
report exceeded the mandate of the September 2004 resolution. Setting
borders and establishing diplomatic relations fell "within the domestic
jurisdiction in both countries,"
"Pushing the Security Council by some
parties to adopt new resolutions or statements will not lead to calm
down the situation in Lebanon or the region, but to the contrary it will
escalate the situation of instability and tension," it said.
"Syria would like to reaffirm once again
that all its troops, military assets and security apparatus withdrew
from Lebanon on April 26, 2005," said the letter to Annan signed by
Milad Atieh, Syria's deputy U.N. ambassador.
CALL FOR COOPERATION IN HARIRI PROBE?
Bolton also said the resolution could
include a call for Syrian cooperation with the U.N. investigation into
the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on February
14, 2005 that has implicated senior Syrian and Lebanese security
Hariri's assassination changed the
political landscape of Lebanon and led to Syria's withdrawal of troops
after 29 years. Lebanon also held parliamentary elections that resulted
in a majority for anti-Syrian legislators.
Annan's report briefly and for the first
time touched on Iranian involvement. He said that Hizbollah had "close
ties with frequent contacts and regular communication" with Iran as well
Bolton said this reference was important.
"We see the effect of the financing by the Iranian government of
terrorist organizations and their efforts to disrupt what we think
should be progress toward a sovereign and democratic Lebanon."
Hizbollah's armed presence is linked
directly to the border controversy, with the militia maintaining it
provides the sole
resistance against a strip of the
Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, known as the Shebaa farms.
The Security Council and the United
Nations, using dozens of maps, say Shebaa is part of Syria but the two
nations were free to change the border, which they have not done.
Syria and Lebanon have not had embassies
on each other's territory since Western powers carved the two states
out of the remnants of the Ottoman empire in 1920. Damascus says its
many bilateral ties rather than embassies suffice for the present.
France preparing draft UN resolution on Lebanon-Syria ties
UNITED NATIONS - France said
Wednesday that it was preparing a draft resolution that would urge
Syria to respond to Lebanon's call for establishment of formal
diplomatic ties between the two neighbors and for a demarcation of
their common border.
France's UN envoy Jean-Marc de La
Sabliere said he was consulting with other members of the Security
Council and hoped to have a text ready "at the beginning of next
He noted that Lebanese Prime
Minister Fuad Siniora's call to Syria, made here Friday in an
address, was "very important for the sovereignty and independence
"It is important that Syria answers
these requests," the French envoy said.
He spoke after a briefing of the
15-member Security Council by Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN envoy
tasked with settling the Syrian-Lebanese dispute.
Speaking earlier, US Ambassador
John Bolton said: "We think another resolution by the Security
Council is warranted to highlight continued Syrian failure to
comply with the requirements of (resolution) 1559."
Syria withdrew its troops from
Lebanon in 2005 after 29 years of military and political
domination of its smaller neighbor, in line with Security Council
Resolution 1559 passed the previous year.
Roed-Larsen meanwhile pointed out
that it was exactly one year ago that Syria withdrew its armed
forces and military intelligence from Lebanon.
He noted that a report by UN chief
Kofi Annan stressed the need to disarm all Lebanese and
non-Lebanese militias in order to fulfill the requirements of
Roed-Larsen said: "We are
encouraging Iran, Syria and also other countries and actors in the
region who have influence related to the full implementation of
1559 to be helpful."