Good morning everybody. I am going to deliver a statement on behalf of the U.S. Government.
The United States welcomes the Secretary General’s most recent report on resolution 1559, particularly its candid portrayal of the continuing threat to Lebanese sovereignty and security posed by the presence of Hizballah and other armed militias in Lebanon. We continue to have deep concerns about Hizballah’s destructive and destabilizing influence in the region, as well as the attempts by other foreign players, including Syria and Iran, to undermine Lebanon’s independence and endanger its stability.
We understand that certain actors within and outside Lebanon – including Syria, Hizballah, and Iran – may believe that escalating sectarian tensions will help them assert their own authority over Lebanon. However, these actors serve only to destabilize Lebanon and the region.
Syria, especially, has displayed flagrant disregard for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Lebanese government, as affirmed in resolution 1559. For example, Syria has issued 33 arrest warrants for senior Lebanese officials and foreign nationals, which directly undermines Lebanon’s sovereignty as well as Syria’s stated commitment to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence.
Additionally, Syria continues to provide increasingly sophisticated weapons to Lebanese militias, including Hizballah, despite Resolution 1680, which calls on Syria to undertake measures against the movement of arms into Lebanese territory. The Secretary General’s report again cites no progress in the disbanding or disarmament of militias since the last report. Hizballah remains the most significant and most heavily armed Lebanese militia. It could not have done so if not for Syria’s aid and facilitation of Syrian and Iranian arms, which also violates UN Security Council Resolution 1747. While Hizaballah appears to be attempting to exercise control over parts of Lebanon, Hizballah itself is not accountable to Lebanon’s democratic institutions.
The United States urges all friends and neighbors of Lebanon to play a constructive role in supporting the Lebanese government in good faith. We remain firmly committed to a sovereign, stable, and independent Lebanon, with strong Lebanese institutions. This is the only way to secure the best interests of the Lebanese people and the region as a whole.
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