BEIRUT: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged in a report this week to the Security Council Hezbollah to withdraw its fighters from Syria and voiced concern of threats to import violence into Lebanon in response to the Lebanese group’s actions in the Arab state.
He also called on the government and Lebanese Army to prohibit Hezbollah from obtaining weapons beyond the control of the state and for the formation of a government.
“I reiterate my call on [Hezbollah] and all other concerned parties not to engage in any militant activity inside or outside of Lebanon, consistent with the requirements of the Taif Agreement and Security Council Resolution 1559,” he said in his semi-annual report on the implementation of UNSCR 1559.
The report, submitted Thursday, is Ban’s 18th to the Security Council on the implementation of UNSCR 1559, which was adopted in 2004 and calls on Lebanon to establish its sovereignty over the country, foreign forces to withdraw and Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias to disband.
“I am also deeply concerned at the acknowledged increased participation in the fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic by [Hezbollah] and the risk of spillover in Lebanon,” the U.N. chief said in the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Star Friday.
Earlier this year, Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah admitted his party was militarily engaged in Syria alongside forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, in a bid to protect Lebanon from what he claimed was the threat of Jihadists.
Ban also voiced concern of threats to import violence to Lebanon in response to Hezbollah’s actions.
“Of equal concern are threats by external actors to bring their fight to Lebanon in response to [Hezbollah’s] involvement and calls from inside Lebanon to engage in Jihad in the Syrian Arab Republic,” he said.
The U.N. chief also reiterated his call for Lebanese parties to uphold the Baabda Declaration and keep the country distant from regional conflicts.
He also cautioned that Hezbollah’s military and weapons proliferation “remains a matter of grave concern,” particularly since the party’s arsenal was not under state control, adding that it placed Lebanon in violation of Resolution 1559.
The U.N. head urged the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Army “to take all the measures necessary to prohibit [Hezbollah] from acquiring weapons and building paramilitary capacities outside the authority of the State.”
Ban also called on regional countries with ties to the party to call for its disarmament.
He expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress toward the implementation of the resolution, in part due the challenges Lebanon continues to face in light of the neighboring conflict which is seriously affecting its stability and security, and the arms smuggling and growing influx of refugees along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
He said that further stagnation in the implementation of Resolution 1559 could deteriorate Lebanon’s security even more.
The U.N. chief also praised Lebanon for the “way it has maintained an open door to Syrians,” particularly Palestinian refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict, and he called upon international governments to provide more assistance and funding as quickly as possible.
Ban called for the quick formation of a government in light of current events, and for ministers to address the most pressing humanitarian and security-related matters.