BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati called Thursday for the creation of an international environmental tribunal to try Israel for causing the 2006 oil spill on Lebanon’s shoreline, and criticized the Jewish state’s refusal to comply with U.N. resolutions.
“Lebanon proposes establishing an international environmental tribunal following the environmental consequences of the 2006 war – primarily the oil pollution crisis over which Lebanon has not received any compensation from the Israeli enemy,” Mikati said during his speech at the U.N. conference for Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Mikati was referring to Israel’s bombing of Lebanon’s Jiyyeh power station during the 34-day conflict in July and August of 2006. The bombing caused the power station to release 15,000 tons of unrefined fuel oil into the Mediterranean sea.
In an assessment of the economic damage released a year later, the World Bank estimated Lebanon’s overall losses at being between $527 million and $931 million. The report added that the average of these two figures, $729 million, constitutes 3.6 percent of Lebanon’s gross domestic product in 2006.
The U.N. has repeatedly urged Israel to assume responsibility and provide adequate compensation to Lebanon’s government.
During his speech in Brazil, Mikati also accused Israel of repeatedly contravening U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended the 2006 war, saying that Israel constantly violates Lebanon’s land, airspace and maritime waters.
“The painful reality of Israel’s refusal to comply with international resolutions is not limited to this environmental case but extends to Israel’s continued occupation of valuable parts of my country: the Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shuba Hills as well as the northern part of Ghajar,” the prime minister said.
He added that Lebanon reserves the right to regain those parts of its territory under Israeli occupation and to stop Israel’s hostile practices via all available means within the framework of international agreements and treaties.
Mikati, who met with Lebanese expatriates in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, also addressed the U.N.’s program for sustainable development. He said developing countries such as Lebanon require time, technological and financial support as well as international partnership to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. He added that the U.N. program would be unsuccessful if all countries fail to come together.
Mikati also stressed the need to achieve Millennium Development Goals by 2015 to create a roadmap for a better future.